The last year has been rough on everyone. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the pandemic has caused nearly four times as many adults to report having experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety over the last year than average. KFF goes on to link this decline in mental health with extended isolation, among other factors. In addition to reaching out for help, people can turn to nature to help improve their moods.
Adding indoor plants to a home is an easy way to reduce both stress and anxiety levels. Indoor plants have been studied extensively and are known to calm the nervous system, resulting in people experiencing a noticeable increase in their happiness. Taking care of indoor greenery has even been shown to reduce blood pressure, according to the Journal of Physiological Anthropology. Plants are widely available in a range of sizes and budgets, making it easy for everyone to find the perfect potted additions for their spaces.
Another way to feel closer to nature is to make small adjustments to a home’s decorations. Switching out heavy drapery for light, gauzy curtains can increase the natural lighting in a home. Increased exposure to natural light is known to greatly improve moods. Even those who find it difficult to increase the sunlight coming in through their windows can still access the benefits of brighter surroundings by investing in a solar lamp. No matter how it’s done, making a home brighter can improve the moods of those living in it.
Lighting and plants aren’t the only ways to bring nature inside. Decorating with natural materials can help a home feel warm and welcoming. Stained or raw wood furniture can bring a little touch of the forest into a home. Many people find vases, planters, and other decorative items made out of stone can help them feel grounded and more secure. Even something as basic as incorporating photographs of nature into a home’s design can reduce stress, according to The Journal of Environmental Science & Technology.
Art & video
For those who want to do more than just change up their house’s décor, watching a documentary can be a great way to experience nature without leaving home. Watching a nature documentary reduces stress in the same way that looking at photographs of natural scenes does. It can also work to improve a person’s long-term outlook on life. If someone uses a nature documentary as a way to plan for a future trip, they give themselves something to look forward to. A study by Cornell University found that when people thought about spending money on a future experience, they were happier than those who were planning on buying material items. In a time when a person’s days seem to blur together, having plans for the future can make a major difference in their mood. Similar to settling in with a documentary, watching a live video feed can help someone reconnect with nature. Time zones don’t matter when cameras all over the world are broadcasting what they see, as it happens.
For panoramic views and occasional wildlife, check out these great feeds:
Yosemite National Park’s Yosemite Falls Live Feed in the United States
Mpala Research Center’s Watering Hole Camera in Kenya
OrcaLab’s Sea Lion Beach in Canada
Switzerland’s Jungfrau Live Panoramic View
No one knows when the pandemic will end. Staying home when possible may be a key step in keeping people safe, but that doesn’t make it an easy thing for most people to do. Filling an indoor space with natural touches can help make it feel a little brighter, a little less confining, and much more appealing. Turning to nature to help boost moods will help make a tough situation a little brighter for everyone.