Have you ever walked outside, felt the sunshine on your shoulders and felt stress leave your body? Or perhaps you felt your mood lift instantly just by looking at a beautiful sunset? It’s not your imagination. There’s tons of research that shows nature can make you happier and healthier. But what about just viewing images of nature? Are there benefits to doing this during your busy work day? Yes! In fact, they could have similar positive effects to those gained from meditation. Here are some of the most important ones that can make your life better.
Images Of Nature Help You Feel Less Pain
There’s a reason why there are gardens in so many hospitals, as well as pictures of nature on the walls. Images of nature can boost your health. A study published in the Citizen Times found that when people put their hands in ice water and looked at images, the ones who looked at nature scenes experienced less pain. This is because nature images help us to imagine being in a soothing, safe setting. This is similar to meditation, during which you conjure up happy environments that ease your mind. The bonus benefits of looking at nature images is that they do the work for your imagination – you just have to look at them!
Looking At Nature Helps You Relax
Put up some gorgeous art prints of flowers or rolling hills in the room of the house you want to feel calm – looking at them will help you relax at the end of a stressful day. Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that when people looked at pictures of nature, their stress levels dropped and their parasympathetic nervous system was activated. This part of the nervous system preserves the body’s energy by slowing down the heart rate.
Nature Makes You Nurture Your Gratefulness
When you sit quietly and meditate, you start to feel better about things that are troubling you, which is partly due to deep breathing as well as how being in the moment can help you shut out the world and gain a bit more perspective on things. If you want to increase these benefits and achieve some gratefulness during your next meditation session, look at some nature imagery.
In a study mentioned on Yes Magazine, when people viewed a Planet Earth documentary episode, a news program, or funny footage from Walk On The Wild Side, the nature images in Planet Earth made 46 per cent of people to feel more awe, and 31 per cent to feel more grateful, when compared to those who watched the other shows.
Nature Reboots Your Concentration
You can’t perform at your peak if you don’t give your brain a break. Meditation and nature imagery are both what you need to escape your work for a while and return refreshed. Best of all, you can do both right at your desk!
In a study mentioned in a Washington Post article, students had to complete the same task twice and given a forty-second break in-between the tasks. During this time, they were shown images of either a city building roof made of concrete or a building covered with flowers and grass. The results found that the nature images made students perform better and make fewer mistakes. So go on and sneak in a few nature pictures during your workday – they’ll help you succeed.
There’s quite a bit of research that shows looking at nature images can help your brain and body function better, with some of the positive benefits being similar to what you can achieve from meditation. For best results, meditate and look at pictures of nature daily. You’ll feel calmer, happier, and increase your brainpower.
About the author: Jackie Edwards
Now working as a writer, Jackie started her career in the healthcare arena, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.