Hooray for the Great Outdoors That Contribute to Our Health!

Dr. Patricia Farrell
4 min readNov 28, 2023

A walk in the woods is more than a day away from the office or the living room couch; it may be a miracle cure for our health.

Photo by J. Balla Photography on Unsplash

The term biophilia and the biophilia hypothesis may not be familiar to you, but it is in your best interests, healthwise, to begin to explore them. Our world is changing, and one aspect of it, the wilderness, is suffering along with its loss.

These trends suggest that people are at risk of becoming increasingly detached from rich natural environments. Across the globe, the number of people living in urban areas has surpassed that of rural areas, a trend that is predicted to continue over the coming decades. At the same time, species extinction is occurring at rates 100–1000 times faster than those seen in the fossil record, and there is no sign of it slowing down. Two of our greatest health assets, natural outdoor environments and exposure to a variety of living plants and animals, are vital for our lives, and we need to understand their value now.

The dangers of stress buildup cannot be continually repeated enough, and pushing them aside, as too many do, is a danger to all of us. Collectively, we stand to lose unless we all begin to cultivate a greater appreciation of mutual stress management.

The loss of a tree, a forest, a species of squirrel, or a tiny fish affects all of us worldwide. We do this not within or for ourselves, but for the totality of environments we create and those we maintain with a design that is meant to last for centuries. Considering it selfishly, you will begin to understand the value of the world environment and its impact on you.

Begin, initially, with physiological stress's stranglehold on your health if you permit it to last. Anyone seeking evidence of the strength and benefits of nature exposure can examine the research. Nature has many benefits, including lowering both physiological and perceived stress. We already know about forest bathing.

In a series of studies that measured physiologic stress, an inverse relationship was found between nature exposure and various physiologic markers of stress. Lower self-reports were seen on the Perceived Stress Scale, Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, in salivary cortisol, blood pressure, and

--

--

Dr. Patricia Farrell

Dr. Farrell is a psychologist, consultant, author, interested in flash fiction writing (http://bitly.ws/S94e), and health.