Contact with nature after isolation

Contact with nature after isolation

We miss. We crave nature, walks in the countryside or on the beach. Visiting landscapes that are essential for the human being will undoubtedly be a way to recover enthusiasm and health after several weeks of isolation.

Contact with nature after isolation

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

Recovering contact with nature after several weeks of isolation is almost a vital requirement. Children, adults and the elderly benefit from this approach to the sea or the mountains, with the wind, with the sun that moves the leaves of the trees in the heart of an environment that has the power to give new strength and hope. Our physical and mental health needs this primal scenario more than ever.

Some people are lucky enough to live in the countryside or near the sea, and this invites the senses to a considerable rest. Despite this, a good portion of the population has faced this mandatory isolation in urban environments and, often, in apartments of a few square meters. The psychological impact is often exhausting, to the point of increasing stress and anxiety levels.

The world between four walls and with a window to come into contact with a highway, a shopping center or any other typical landscape of our cities, generates the same despair suffered by a prisoner. The mind that remains a prisoner of this monotonous gray canvas, day after day, he ends up suffering from memory lapses and mood alterations.

People are not made for continuous isolation and one of the things that humans lack most in these conditions is the enveloping embrace of nature.

There are times when all our anxiety and accumulated effort relax in the infinite laziness and rest of nature.

– Henry David Thoreau-

Getting in touch with nature after isolation: more than a desire, a need

Nadine Nadkarni, a psychologist at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in 2010 he conducted an interesting experiment in the Snake River Reformatory in Oregon. Among the inmates there was no lack of aggression, violence and states of anxiety, as well as high levels of stress. There was therefore a need to develop a strategy to improve coexistence.

The study was then published in the journal Nature and has been a benchmark in the field of prison psychology ever since. Dr. Nadkarni designed the installation in the cells of images representing natural landscapes. Screens were also installed in the isolation cells in which videos of woods, rivers, seas ...

The results were very positive. The anxiety levels were reduced and some were used halls that prisoners could have access to to view 4-length videos and improve their mood. All this shows us that nature has a cathartic impact on the human being capable of modulating our physical and mental well-being.

But people don't just benefit from seeing paintings or videos of a forest or river. What we also need is contact with nature. Especially if we have spent several weeks in solitary confinement due to the current pandemic.

Our brain needs the blue of the sky and the green of the meadows

Pablo Picasso used to say that colors are the reflection of the emotions imprinted in nature. In a way he was right. When we are in an enclosed space, the eyes and the mind need to get close to a window to look for the blue color of the sky. When they begin to see it, they feel at peace.

Psychologists Joanne K. Garrett and Mathew P. White, from the University of Exeter School of Medicine in the UK, conducted a research study in which an interesting discovery was made: people living near the sea or in in the long run, enjoy better physical and psychological health.

The color of these landscapes and the sunlight reduce anxiety disorders and even improve the health of older people. As if that weren't enough, Marc Berman, a psychologist at the University of Michigan and an expert in the field of ecological psychology, argues that the green color of natural landscapes has a positive effect on the brain. And this effect is almost immediate.

How can we get in touch with nature after isolation?

We need it. We have the desire to get in touch with nature; we miss its perfumes, the warmth of the light of its sunrises and sunsets. We want to tread on its ground with respect, discover its corners, feel the wind whispering through the branches, as it caresses our skin and fills our lungs with oxygen ...

However, much of our society is still in isolation. There are many people, adults, children, the elderly who cannot yet move to the countryside, much less to the sea if they live in urban areas. What can we do in these cases? Some simple strategies can help us out:

  • On Youtube we can watch relaxing videos, set in wonderful natural landscapes.
  • Google offers us resources to travel to places in the world through the screen. We can discover nature reserves, islands, woods, mountains, protected parks.
  • Even hanging photos and images of natural landscapes on the walls of the house has a relaxing effect.
  • We can relax listening to the sounds of nature, like the flowing of rivers, the songs of birds, the sound of the sea.

Last but not least, remember that it is essential to get at least 20 minutes of sun a day. Being near a window, spending time on the balcony or terrace is essential for our physical and psychological health. The blue color of the sky and the sunlight give us new life and improve our mood. Nature always awaits us with open arms. We will come back to hug her.

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