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It turns out that immersing ourselves
in Nature is good for us in ways that science can actually measure. A paper published last week, “A Dose of
Nature” Jules Pretty and Jo Barton found that people’s mood
and self-esteem benefit from what it calls “green exercise.” Prof. Pretty said of his study “For the first time in the scientific
literature, we have been able to show dose-response relationships for the
positive effects of nature on human mental health.”
Their findings applied to all ages and both genders, though there
were interesting differences among them.
The biggest benefits applied to the mentally ill, suggesting that my
suspicion modern society may drive us crazy is well founded.
a report on the paper, Peter Stanford writes
The study shows, for example, that being in a green environment
is better than being in an urban one in terms of a measurable positive effect
on blood pressure, hormones and stress levels. Intriguingly, it also concludes
that the biggest beneficial boost from exposure to nature is gained within the
initial five minutes of each encounter with the great outdoors. While it
continues to reap a harvest thereafter, the crop of positives diminishes.
Snyder has written, truly I think, that the spirit of place is the total of all
the energy fields present in a place.
Those of rocks and water, soil and air, plants, animals, fungi, people –
the whole nine yards. This week
I’ll write another blog on things you might try in order to experience this
Yesterday I took a long road trip
along small ridge top roads in Sonoma County, stopping frequently to take
photographs and walk around. It
was cleansing as well as beautiful.
Something similar happens to me when I walk from where I live into
downtown Sebastopol, for people here love to plant flowers in their front
yards, but concrete and cars still intrude jarringly at times.
Thanks to AmericaBlog for first turning me onto this.