Healing power of nature

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Healing power of nature
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These notes are based on a guest lecture for the Health Psychology unit of study at the University of Canberra.

Overview[edit]

This lecture provides an introduction to the "healing power of nature" from a psychological point of view. It emphasises psychoevolutionary theory and practical applications.

Activities[edit]

This section involves some experiential activities to heighten personal awareness about our engagements with nature.

Sensory awareness inventory[edit]

Write down as many examples as you can of how you receive pleasure, comfort or enjoyment through each of your five senses:

Sight Sound Touch Taste Smell






Discussion
  • Circle all the sources of pleasure that involve nature
  • Design a "perfect day" which involves receiving at least one favourite source of pleasure through each of your senses
  • Consider: Are there more than five senses?[1][2]
More info

Favourite place in nature[edit]

History[edit]

This section looks at the role of nature in health and well-being through human history.

Indigenous[edit]

Industrialisation[edit]

Present[edit]

Future[edit]

Theory[edit]

This section explores the main psychologies theories used to understand the healing potential of nature.

Intersections[edit]

This area represents intersections between:

  1. Health
  2. Environment
  3. Psychology

Psychevolutionary theory[edit]

  1. Evolutionary psychology (Wikipedia)

Biophilia hypothesis[edit]

  1. Biophilia hypothesis (Wikipedia) (Wilson, 1984)
  2. Edward O. Wilson's Biophilia Hypothesis (wilderdom.com)

Attention restoration theory[edit]

  1. Attention restoration theory (Wikipedia)
  2. Attention restoration theory (Motivation and Emotion Book Chapter, Wikiversity)
  3. Attention restoration theory (Psychology of natural scenes, Wikiversity)
  4. Kaplan (1995)

Stress reduction theory[edit]

  1. Stress reduction theory (Wikipedia)
  2. Stress reduction theory (Psychology of natural scenes, Wikiversity)
  3. Ulrich et al. (1991)

Research[edit]

This section highlights some key and illustrative research findings about the healing potential of exposure to nature.

Natural scenes[edit]

  • Ulrich (1984): Natural view through a hospital window promoted recovery
  • Viewing

Green space[edit]

  • Public health

Green exercise[edit]

Mountain biking is an example of "green exercise".
  • Field studies
  • Lab studies
  • MMORPG exergames

Nature therapy[edit]

Nature therapy / ecotherapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Animal therapy (e.g., companion animals, equine therapy, mini-zoo keepers)
  • Conservation therapy (e.g., mini zoo-keepers)
  • Green prescriptions (GRx)
  • Horticultural therapy
  • Nature meditation

Summary[edit]

Slides[edit]

See also[edit]

Readings[edit]

Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010). Urban ecology and human health and wellbeing. Urban Ecology, 12(1), 202-229.

Bowler, D. E., Buyung-Ali, L. M., Knight, T. M., & Pullin, A. S. (2010). A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments. BMC Public Health, 10, 456. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-10-456

Frumkin, H. (2001). Beyond toxicity: Human health and the natural environment. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 20, 234-240. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(00)00317-2

Gullone, E. (2000). The biophilia hypothesis and life in the 21st century: Increasing mental health or increasing pathology? Journal of Happiness Studies, 1(3), 293-322.

References[edit]

Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology15(3), 169-182. http://doi.org/10.1016/0272-4944(95)90001-2

Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin books.

Maas, J., Verheij, R. A., Groenewegen, P. P., De Vries, S., & Spreeuwenberg, P. (2006). space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation? Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 60(7), 587-592.

Ulrich, R. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery. Science, 224(4647), 224-225.

Ulrich, R. S., Simons, R. F., Losito, B. D., Fiorito, E., Miles, M. A., & Zelson, M. (1991). Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 11(3), 201-230.

Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.