Browning and colleagues have determined that virtual nature experiences can have the same effects on mental health as “real” ones. The team reports that “Nature exposure in virtual reality (VR) can provide emotional well-being benefits for people who cannot access the outdoors. . . . [the researchers compared] the effects of 6 min of outdoor nature exposure with 6 min of exposure to a 360-degree VR nature video, which is recorded at the outdoor nature exposure location. Skin conductivity, restorativeness, and mood before and after exposure are measured.
Pictures/Videos of Nature
Sjolander and colleagues examined the effects of showing people having colonoscopies nature videos during the procedure and found that the patients exposed to the nature videos experienced less stress. As they describe “One of the four endoscopy rooms was rebuilt to include a large digital screen showing calm nature films. . . . The presence of calm nature films during colonoscopy decreased the release of cortisol, increased prolactin levels, and enhanced oxygen saturation.
Laurent and colleagues confirm the value of spending time in both “real” and “virtual” nature. The team report that they “conduct[ed] an experiment with healthy undergraduate students that tests the effects of six minutes of outdoor nature exposure with six minutes of exposure to a 360-degree VR [virtual reality] nature video, which is recorded at the outdoor nature exposure location. . . .
A Kao-lead team linked what we’re looking at with what we choose to eat; we make healthier choices when looking at nature images than we do otherwise. The researchers found that “Visual exposure to natural versus urban scenes leads to healthier dietary choices. . . . Successful weight loss requires individuals to focus on distant health gains while sacrificing immediate culinary pleasures. Time discounting refers to the tendency to discount larger future gains in favor of smaller immediate rewards.
Lymeus, Lindberg, and Hartig assessed mindfulness training in different environments. They found that “The setting matters in meditation. . . . Many mindfulness-based health interventions emphasize effortful attention training exercises in sparsely furnished indoor settings. However, many beginners with attention regulation problems struggle with the exercises and drop out. In contrast, restoration skills training (ReST) – a five-week course set in a garden environment – builds on mindfulness practices adapted to draw on restorative processes stimulated effortlessly in nature contacts.
Our physical environment influences our cravings for alcohol, cigarettes, and harmful foods.
Research conducted with children may indicate a way to at least partially compensate for lack of
Live or recorded makes a difference
Swami and team have learned more about how being exposed to nature influences people’s perception
A recently published study indicates that nature images in a space and being in nature do more th