Adults notice that today’s children are less exposed to nature and play outside less than at their age. Your intuition tells you that being surrounded by wild nature has a beneficial effect on many spheres of life. Science confirms this belief. Discover what puts you in touch with nature.
Even the name “natural deficit disorder” has been coined, but this is not a medical term. Still, more and more specialists warn that the lack of frequent contact with nature has real consequences for people, especially children. Nothing unusual; Many studies show that contact with nature supports the treatment of serious conditions, such as ADHD or autism spectrum disorders, improves concentration and motor coordination and regenerates body and mind.
Meanwhile, all over the world – not just in developed countries – the number of people whose contact with nature is kept to a minimum is increasing. Many adults remember the charm of their childhood without access to technology, time spent in their backyard, vacations in the countryside. Although we miss it ourselves, modern parents are often unable to give it to their own children.
Richard Louv, author of the book “The Last Child of the Forest. “How to Save Our Children from Nature Deficit Syndrome” argues that an urbanized lifestyle, with fewer and fewer natural spaces, more cars, more screen time, less leisure time and increased time pressure at work or school, significantly reduces contact with nature for both. reduces adults and children. Louv is co-founder of the organization Children and Nature Network (C-NN), which aims to promote play in nature.
How playing outside supports children
A 2006 study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) found that sixth-grade students who participated in three extracurricular programs had better conflict-resolution skills.
A 2013 study in China of 60,000 children aged 2 to 17 found that regular exposure to nature or ‘greenery’ around their school reduced the incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A more recent study at the University of Illinois produced similar results.
Other studies have linked a lack of outdoor time in children with:
increased obesity index,
vitamin D deficiency,
higher level of aggression,
an increased degree of depression,
poor academic performance,
less able to deal with stress,
poor concentration of attention,
Conversely, a meta-review of 143 other studies published in the journal Environmental Research found that people with access to green spaces generally have slower heart rates, lower blood pressure and lower blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Scientists from Anglia Ruskin University noticed that contact with nature has a positive effect on self-esteem. Moreover, according to them, the benefits are even obtained by looking at nature photos.
There are several reasons why contact with nature can have a positive effect on people’s perception of their bodies. It may enable people to distance themselves physically and mentally from situations that exacerbate their negative self-image – explained the study’s author Prof. Viren Swami Anglia Ruskin University.
As he added, it is also possible that “contact with an environment of great depth and complexity reduces thoughts associated with negative self-perception”.
More precisely, the natural environment effortlessly attracts human attention through the so-called ‘soft fascination’. Often this is accompanied by a feeling of pleasure, for example when one’s gaze is drawn by the setting sun. An environment that does not require a person’s undivided attention can also silence him mentally. This, in turn, can increase self-compassion, respect for the body and appreciation that it is part of a wider ecosystem that needs protection and care. Access to nature can also mean that a person spends more time outdoors and engages in activities that place an emphasis on the functionality of the body rather than its aesthetic qualities, he said.
The results of research conducted by one of the companies as part of the “HEADUPPERS 2021” campaign show that 86 percent. parents believe they enjoyed being outside with their children—much more than their own children. According to 63 percent of parents, this is not the case in their children’s generation because of the younger generation’s addiction to technology.
However, the experience of C-NN, but also of the organizers of scout camps and events or horse riding camps, shows that children love activities and trips to nature and almost magically forget their smartphones. So maybe it’s worth adding to the New Year’s resolutions about trips to the woods or the park on the weekend?
Source of information: Servis Zdrowie