From hiking a backcountry trail to gardening in your backyard to just looking at images of natural spaces, exposure to nature positively impacts our health in virtually every conceivable way. There’s even a word for it: “Biophilia” is the fundamental human attraction to and need for contact with the natural world. We’re wired for exposure to natural spaces and when we don’t get it, things go wrong.
In recent years, a growing body of research (see all of our fancy sources at the end of this article) has generated excitement about the connection between exposure to nature and human health. What’s all the hubbub about? Study after study shows that, among other benefits, time spent in green and blue spaces beyond our walls, cars, and the sometimes oppressive din of daily life offers these benefits:
Given all that, it’s startling to discover that Americans spend an average of about 7% of our time outside. WHAT? No wonder we’re stressed out and cranky.
For those of you who double-swear you just don’t have time to add the recommended <2 hours communing with nature to your weekly agenda, we’re here to save the day.
Behold! 9 tips for bringing some of nature’s benefits to you. It may not cure all of what ails you, but it’ll be a pretty terrific start.
You aren’t wired to spend all your time in the shade -- or worse, the dark. Your body needs natural light to stay healthy. Take full advantage of natural light in your home by minimizing window coverings or choosing sheer curtains. Not enough windows to matter? It isn’t quite the same, but invest in some great lamps and other light fixtures (and bulbs that emit light on the warm end of the spectrum) to wake things up.
(Our specialty!) Incorporate natural wood, stone, bamboo, cork, grasses, shells, crystals, and more. Add synthetic-free upholstery, rugs, and fabric accents to bring an organic feel and softness to your space.
What natural environment are you most drawn to? What colors would most convey the feel of that place? Employ greens and blues (hands-down winners in the therapeutic department), then weave in hues that represent outdoor spaces that calm you and let them work their magic!
No matter how small, a water feature like a tabletop fountain is a lovely way to bring water’s calming effects into your space -- and as a bonus, they’ll help mask the perpetual hisses and hums emanating from electronic gadgets and appliances.
Surrounding yourself with a variety of plants in pots you genuinely love (made of natural materials, of course) is an easy way to bring nature inside. If you think you don’t have an ounce of green in your thumb, give a few of these a try!
Sure, there are seasonal and other considerations, but if you can, throw open all your windows and allow fresh air to flow through your space. Love the scent of spring rain or falling snow? Grab a sweater (or parka) and bring it indoors! Your health and your mood will thank you.
Close your eyes and think about your favorite natural places. What do you smell? A forest? A beach? Whatever it is, there’s a candle -- nontoxic, of course -- that will help bring those memories -- and the accompanying restfulness -- home.
Mirrors instantly create the illusion of more space and multiply the relaxing effect of all those natural elements you’ve thoughtfully chosen for your space. Want a few ideas? HGTV’s got you.
What do you see when you look out your windows? If nothing special, it may be time to change that. As architect Rob Busch says, “The outside is not just leftover...after you design the space. It’s the biggest room in the house; it just happens to be outside.”
You may not be ready to invest thousands in landscaping, but thinking about the view just outside your windows as an extension of your living space may inspire you to add natural decorative touches that will elevate your space and your spirits.
Inspired to bring a little nature into your home to benefit body and mind? We hope so…and we’re here to help! If you can’t find exactly the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind decorative piece you’re looking for on our site, reach out to us and share your vision. We’ll be happy to create just the right piece to complete your nature-inspired oasis.