Nature is our home. No matter how urban our existence may be, no matter how far away we may live from anything resembling moving water or a green patch on the ground, we carry within us a hard-wired healing response to the natural world.
Plenty of studies have documented the psychological benefits of time in nature. A simple walk in the woods has been shown to decrease blood pressure and anger as well increase positive mood and ability to concentrate (Berman et al 2012; Hartig et al 2003). The positive potency of nature is such that even watching a ten minute film about it (as compared to a film about an urban setting) has been found to have beneficial effects on heart rate and stress reduction (Ulrich et al 1991).
You can just look at nature out the window and benefit from its healing resonance! A study of residential rehabilitation patients found that an unobstructed window view of a natural setting was associated with improvements in mental and physical health as compared to views blocked by buildings (Raanaas et al 2012).
Our bodies and minds appear to have a deep attunement to or kinship with the outdoors, reflecting perhaps that we live not only in relation to the natural world, but also as an intrinsic expression of it.
Bravo to the Canadian Government who announced this year that admission to all national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas would be free for its youth:
“By making admission free for youth under 17, Canada is celebrating families and the importance of our protected areas. We understand that by connecting with nature, youth will gain a better understanding of our urgent need to not only protect it, but maintain it for future generations.”
Parks Canada Agency News Release 12/21/17