Devoting some time to nature can rejuvenate our body and soul.
‘Nature’ is one of the best creations of God. It comprises of the natural, physical or material world around us. The word ‘nature’ is derived from the Latin word 'natura', which means "essential qualities”, while in ancient times, it meant "birth".
According to the satellite data analysis in 2018, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), has put the total forest and tree cover at 802,088 square km, which is 24.39 percent of the geographical area of the country.
Though the term, "nature" is generally used in several different contexts, it is often used to imply the study of the Earth and wildlife. It can also be used to describe the processes associated with inanimate objects such as weather and geology.
Nature is often used to depict the "natural environment", which may include wild animals, rocks, forests, trees or anything that has not been significantly altered by human touch. A study by the University of Exeter, United Kingdom, stated that spending two hours a week with nature leads to a healthy life.
This survey-based investigation concluded that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature, every week, reported better physical and mental wellbeing than those who faced no natural exposure. Further, the researchers observed the same outcomes irrespective of the age group and sex of the study population.
Moreover, ethnic diversity did not affect the study outcomes with respect to any of the parameters. This was one of the world's largest investigations that evaluated the weekly exposure of people to natural surroundings.
Other investigations have also proven the positive impact of a cleaner and greener neighbourhood on physical and psychological health. Eliminating air and sound pollution can protect human health and nature. Spending mindful time in nature can reduce stress, and could also encourage spending quality time with family and friends.
The direct relation between nature and happiness quotient of people is well reflected through consistent topping by the Scandinavian countries in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report. Spending sufficient time outdoors has been listed as one of the major reasons for the happiness of the population residing in these countries.
Considering this growing understanding of the connection between nature and health, it wouldn’t be long before the health practitioners start suggesting spending time in nature to their patients, along with the usual medicines.
The research work was carried out by Indian authors named Ms Ashwani Kumar Agnihotri, Mr Anurag Ohri, and Mr Sachin Mishra. The work was based on the ‘Impact of Green Spaces on the Urban Microclimate through Landsat 8 and TIRS Data, in Varanasi, India’ published in the year 2018 in the International Journal of Environment and Sustainability. This study shows that urban green space will help to increase the bond with nature and life. It is important for the sustainable development of urban environments. It will also provide a healthy quality of life and keep away all lifestyle diseases. People in urban regions will have a better social life with an increase of greenery and time with nature.
Editor: Dr Prajakta Dandekar Jain
- Mathew P. White, Ian Alcock, James Grellier, Benedict W. Wheeler, Terry Hartig, Sara L. Warber, Angie Bone, Michael H. Depledge, Lora E. Fleming. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3
- Humberstone Barbara, Embodiment, Nature and Wellbeing: More than the senses? p.61-72, in Experiencing the Outdoors: Enhancing Strategies for Wellbeing, edited by Margaret Robertson, Ruth Lawrence, Gregory Heath, Sense Publishers, The Netherlands, 2015.