August 26, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

Nature Clears Your Head

Why does exposure to nature produce so many health benefits? Researchers found some possible reasons.

Studies have long shown that exposure to outdoor natural environments reduces stress and improves health and well being. How does it do this? An international team of health researchers, publishing in PLoS One, investigated and found that nature slows down a person’s tendency to act impulsively. It delays the urgent need for decision-making, giving the head time to collect its thoughts. The authors also found improvement in space perception. But is this due to Darwinian evolution?

Human history evolved around an intimate connection to the natural environment … This has changed dramatically over the last century. The recent shift to over half of the world’s population living in urban areas together with advancements in technology has drastically reduced the amount of time many people spend in contact with nature. This separation of humans from nature may not be inconsequential. A growing body of research is dedicated to exploring how interactions with the natural environment affect human health and wellbeing. To date, researchers have demonstrated that humans gain a plethora of health and wellbeing benefits from nature exposure. Here, we present two studies that test a new theory linking the health benefits of nature exposure to reduced impulsivity via psychologically expanding space perception.

Line drawing from “Is Genesis History?” (Compass Cinema)

Evolutionists can claim no priority for Darwinism giving humans this benefit. Biblical creationists know that God put the first man and woman in a garden, not in a city. And for ‘nature exposure,’ they didn’t even need clothes at first.

The health benefits are now beyond dispute. The question now is why this is so.

Further, research has revealed nature not only improves a wide array of health and wellbeing outcomes, but that both experimentally manipulated increases in nature exposure (e.g. [15]) and nature exposure resulting from living and/or working within proximity to ample natural space (e.g., [24–26]) can have these impacts on health. Given this wealth of evidence linking nature exposure to human health and wellbeing, some researchers have shifted from asking whether nature exposure improves health, to asking how nature exposure improves health.

Surveying hundreds of participants from several countries in two studies, the authors confirmed that nature exposure lowered impulsivity and enhanced their perception of space. The authors cite numerous references showing that the benefits extend to the body, the mind, and even to society. The responses of participants confirmed these benefits.

You can be a citizen scientist for this project. Just go outside and take a walk each day. Travel light; don’t take the city with you.

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