Time in nature is good for our mental health… but what about artificial nature?

Take a moment and imagine yourself in nature – whether it’s walking in a rainforest, bushwalking, swimming in the ocean, or a moment of wonder at the animals and plants around us.

Do you feel it? You might feel relaxed and less stressed by experiencing yourself being in contact with nature.

Nature offers us a respite from the daily grind of routines and demands.

This innate desire to connect with our natural environments is labeled “biophilia hypothesis” – a term put forward by sociobiologist Edward Wilson in 1984.

Research has found that spending time in natural settings is linked to:

  • Reductions in stress, feelings of anger, and fatigue
  • Increases in happiness (otherwise known as “positive mood”)
  • Fewer symptoms of depression in adulthood and reductions in symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children

So, time in nature does us good. But how?

How do we derive such positive experiences from being in nature?

Now, many cultures have their own complex connections to nature, but from the Western scientific school of thought at least, two major theories help us understand this connection.

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