Updated: Apr 18
Biophilia. The Love of life.
If you could go anywhere, where would you go to relax, unwind and clear your head? Most likely, your answer would be somewhere in nature. I am sure you would describe a beautiful place where your soul sings by an ocean, lake, or river. Perhaps your happy getaway is in the mountains, forest, or desert. Here is something to reflect on. Why are you drawn to nature experiences? What is your connection to these beautiful places that allow your inner conflict to melt away?
No one knows for sure, but there are some observations, theories, and research. Evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson introduced the term biophilia in 1984. His theory suggests that people have an innate tendency to be attracted to nature and seek connection due to evolutionary reasons. We may be drawn to be in beautiful, natural spaces because they are resource-rich environments for survival.
Edward O Wilson was not alone in the quest to understand our connection to the great earth. Although, his theory suggests there is a genetic component for survival. Many cultures have long recognized our connection with nature and the vital role in our life and well-being. The Japanese observed and researched the health benefits of spending time in nature. They introduced the exercise and mindful practice of shinrin-yoku, aka forest bathing. In the 1990s, Japanese researchers started studying forest bathing's physiological benefits to provide the science to support what we already knew. Time spent in nature is healthy for us.
Although, survival is critical. Research shows a connection to nature can have many positive health benefits. They found it can greatly impact our ability to flourish and thrive socially, psychologically , and emotionally. Being in nature or viewing nature in paintings and videos can positively impact our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes, and social interactions. It can produce a cascade of positive emotions and calm our nervous systems. In turn, it helps us to cultivate greater openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience.
More recently, biophilia has been shining its light again. Except for this time, architects and designers are promoting a design concept called biophilic design. Our environment plays a significant role in our overall health by impacting our mood and stress levels. The more we move away from the natural world through built environments and technology. The more we recognize the influential role this lost connection plays in our lives and well-being. The biophilic design concept reconnects our affinity to nature in our built environment for the positive benefit of health and well-being.
I bet after reading this. You are interested in reconnecting and growing your relationship with nature. Here are a few tips:
• Practice being mindful. Take it all in with your 5 senses.
• Be curious. Explore the world around you.
• Discover a new outdoor activity.
• Go green with your exercise.
• Bring nature indoors.
• Play in the garden.
• Appreciate all the seasons.
• Let the sunshine in your home.
• Get outside.
Sheri Davidson is a licensed acupuncturist and integrative health coach in Houston, TX specializing in preventative medicine. She loves sharing her passion for natural and holistic approaches through her online articles and at her clinic, Element 5, Acupuncture + Wellness in Rice Village Dstrict. Call for an appointment at 713.942.7110