"Laughter is the best medicine," they say. But of course we all know we still have to take our daily allergy medicines, asthma inhalers, blood pressure medicine, and well...you get the point. In this day and age, people are living a lot longer and thus, we are seeing new diseases constantly. We have to come up with all forms of medications to treat every disease for every kind of person. Everything ranging from the psychological to the physical, is constantly receiving new forms of treatment. But what if the best medicine is something you could have everyday for free and whenever you wanted? No, it's not a new miracle pill, not a form of therapy, and not necessarily an incredible exercise that’ll make you lose ten pounds in one week. It’s nature. The sun, the tree, the fresh air, whether your walking, running, or sitting – every aspect of nature is actually the greatest medicine you could ever receive.
Different studies have shown that nature truly heals. When people are in nature or simply viewing images of nature, results have shown reduced anger, stress, and fear. It actually increases pleasant feelings experienced. It also has been shown to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and so on. Scientists believe this is because we are naturally programmed to be in nature. After all, our ancestors did spend nearly everyday of their lives outside, living. So being in our natural environment significantly boosts our mood and health effects – it makes sense. Nature can even help us get over grief. We are programmed to be happy when surrounded by the natural elements that once nourished our ancestors. So when in nature, we can very quickly become calm and relaxed.
Nature can have an even greater effect though. Scientists did a study on patients with gallbladder surgery. Half the patients were given rooms with the view of nothing but a wall, and the other half had a view of trees. According to the physician who did this study, the patients with the natural view tolerated pain better. The nurses reported fewer negative effects for these people who, overall, spent less time in the hospital recovering from their surgery. Other studies have been conducted since and have shown similar results. Nature can physically heal us and it's absolutely amazing. So next time you’re in the hospital, be sure to ask for a room with a natural view – you may save a fortune in hospital bills.
Our generation is also facing a new wave of mental illness and depression, especially. We have seen that those who walk through nature have improved mood, feel stronger connections with family and friends, and are more concerned with helping their fellow humans. Nature is something that I believe we take for granted too often. Yet, it is something that literally fuels and heals each and everyone of us. Next time you are having a bad day, take a walk outside, have a picnic, or just watch the stars. I promise you will be better for it.