21/05/24

elinor
2 min readMay 25, 2021

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Learning to stay with the trouble of living and dying together on a damaged earth will prove more conducive to the kind of thinking and action that could provide the means to building more livable futures. — Donna Haraway

Image by Relational Uprising

A robust study in 2019 found that exactly two hours of time in nature (outdoor environments like woodlands, beaches, parks, etc.) per week improved health and wellbeing, as reported by the participants. Another recent report on this topic included findings that time in nature can “lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, enhance immune function, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.” A 2017 article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health elucidates how the many benefits of nature experience are most likely related to the variety of sensory inputs combined with particular microbes and chemical compounds our bodies contact and absorb. While vision can be an important sense overall, the article affirms that total lived experiences in the environment full of sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile opportunity are crucial for wellbeing.

Phytoncides, organic compounds usually emitted by plants for defensive purposes, permeate the air in natural environments and are ingested by visitors and/or inhabitants. They are a popular topic of study in Japan, and widely believed to contribute to benefits experienced during nature walks known as “shinrin-yoku,” or “forest-bathing.”

Somatics — A field within bodywork and movement studies which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. The oldest and most widely practiced somatic discipline is yoga, but many others exist.

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elinor

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