Series: Nature and the Workplace: Part 2
Many of us are aware of the medicinal properties of various natural extracts. However, does being near or surrounded by nature, in itself, heal the body? Take this quiz and then scroll down to see some surprising answers below.
1. A potted plant in your hospital room can hasten your recovery; True or False?
2. Sounds of nature can diminish your experience of pain; True or False?
4. You are more likely to live longer if you are in regular contact with nature; True or False?
4. Walking in a forest can help prevent cancer; True or False?
All statements are true. Amazingly even a potted plant will help you get well in the hospital. Studies have confirmed each of the above statements.
This translates to workplace productivity. For example, a study showed that workers facing a natural scene through their office window took 19% fewer sick days, compared to their colleagues on the other side of the building.
On one level this seems extraordinary.
How on earth could a potted plant make a difference to healing? Is it simply looking at green that is beneficial or are plants secretly emitting healing substances into the atmosphere? Does experiencing nature in any form – from being in the woods, to living with a potted plant, to listening to sounds of nature – trigger a relaxation response in us, counteracting all the harmful effects of stress; therefor improving our health, hastening healing and increasing longevity?
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that any contact with nature would be healing for us.
This perspective says that humans are simply a part of nature and we do less well when cut off from it. As we would do less well if one of our legs were cut off. We would adapt but it wouldn’t be an optimal situation.
We humans evolved with the rest of nature. All systems are designed to constantly engage with nature. A big part of who we are atrophies without nature around – a part that we have become mostly unconscious of.
As it turns out, this information has a lot of relevance to the workplace; read on: Why Nature Inspires Well-being; Workplace Benefits.