A study related to the well-being of humans by connecting to nature and environment refers to ‘Environmental Psychology.’
Environmental psychology believes that nature is significantly involved in the conduct and development of human beings. This type of study believes that nature contributes to the humans’ behavior, feelings, and even thinking to a large extent.
Another research with the title of ‘Human-Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review,’ showed how nature is inter-connected with humans’ wellbeing, and general health.
The study further explained that:
- A close relationship with nature can improve several physical conditions as chronic pain, cardiac problems, and hypertension.
- Strong connectivity between human and nature can help in enhancing emotional and spiritual well-being and even can help in the alleviation of social anxiety and isolation.
- Proximity with nature can also help in coping with mental disorders, different types of anxieties, and mood disorders.
- People who are more into nature are comparatively more responsible and conscious regarding the environment they live in.
According to a study by David Hayward in 2016, he observed that students who were seeking outdoor education were comparatively more balanced, emotionally, and more satisfied than students who took indoor education.
Types of nature sounds:
Nature is a primary source of relaxation and contentment. Green grass has a soothing effect to eyes and a walk on a green grass in the morning, wet with the dew drops, gives a sensation of massage to feet which freshens the whole body. Similarly, listening to nature and natural sounds is another treasure for human beings.
- Sound of blowing wind in the morning
- Sound of rain
- Sound of water waves in rivers and ocean
- Sound of chirping birds, the sound of falling leaves in autumn
- Sound of bird songs,
moreover, even the sound of reptiles cheeping in the night, all sounds are from natural sources without amalgamation from artificial sources.
How the brain communicates with the sound?
According to Scientific Reports, an experiment was conducted comprising of participants who were made to listen to nature and artificial sounds. The brain activity was monitored through MRI.
According to the results of this study, participants showed an inwardly directed attention-focus, and a state similar to that of post-traumatic disorders, depression, and anxiety. An increase in activity of rest and digest nervous system was also observed while listening to artificial sounds.
In contrast to artificial sounds, participants showed outwardly directed attention-focus, calmness, and relaxation. Participants who were having stress before this experiment also showed body relaxation while listening to nature sounds.
Anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, and other such reactions occur as a result of stimulation of this part. According to research evidence, sounds of nature affect those systems of body and part of the brain which are associated with fright-or-flight and autonomic nervous system (rest-digest) leading to resting activity in mind, promotes relaxation, and well-being. These changes in sound are most significantly detected in the parietal cortex of the brain which lies near to occipital lobe.
In another hypothesis, it has been observed that nature sounds help prefrontal cortex to rest down and dial down as this part is the primary command center of the brain. The study also showed that EEG of the individuals listening to natural sounds was indicative of less energy emerging from the midline frontal-theta waves, which are a measure of sustained attention and conceptual thinking.
Different types of therapies for the management of insomnia, aggression and anger control, stress, depression, sadness, grief, relaxation, soothing effects, and calmness are available via natural sounds.
Most of the times, patients with severe depression, and mental health disorders are advised to move to hilly areas or stay close with nature and avoid urban noises. The purpose behind this advice is the same, to limit the noise intake and introduce natural sound remedies as a substitute for better functioning and management of problems.
Human and nature connection:
Human and nature connection accounts for almost four types of well-being:
- Physical well-being:
- Improvement in cardiac functioning
- Alleviation of hypertension
- Hormonal balance and regulation
- Increase in respiratory functions
- Visual enhancement.
- Psychological well-being:
- Regulation of emotions
- Increased span for attention
- Optimistic approach and thinking
- Improved management for stress and depression
- Uplifts mood.
- Spiritual well-being:
- Improved insight for negative and positive life aspects
- A deep sense of self-worth
- Feelings of increased gratitude towards life.
- Social well-being:
- Effective communication (interpersonal)
- Deep emotional attachments
- Feelings of empathy
- Less intensity of aggression and conflict at home
- Stronger and deeper bonds
- Interest in interpersonal relationships.
Healing power of nature:
Hearing is one of the five special senses of humans. What we hear in our daily life routine has a significant impact on our body, mind, and heath as all these components are interlinked to each other. New researches have been conducted to see what part nature play in the healing of the individuals who are suffering from noise pollution, unsolicited sounds, and voices.
Interestingly, these researches showed several positive results in favor of the healing power of nature. A hospital in Oakland, California, focused on outdoor visits for pediatric patients to let children feel the nature, listen to nature sounds, and have benefited from its healing power. A 20 to 30-minute walk in woods or green grassy area is enough for the mood changes and psychological changes according to a professor in the University of Tampere.
Sound of waves flowing through the water can equally be useful for mood change and calmness as a walk in the woods. Listening to a rain sound can bring a sense of positive excitement and energy which can suppress feelings of gloom for a while. A fresh morning breeze with the birds singing songs gives new hope for the new day and is indicative of new opportunities in life and emerging energy.
In short, nature can help an individual for his/her emotional, physical, psychological, and even emotional well-being by directly affecting and stimulating the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, parts of the brain, respectively. The human brain isn’t only capable of detecting the sound change immediately but also can cause changes in the body according to the sound which it is encoding. That’s why good and relaxational sounds have a positive effect on the body, while noise has an immensely negative impact on human behavior and mood.