001 The Healing Influence of Nature

by Connie Minnell on July 3, 2013

in Blog, Podcasts

Episode 001-The Healing Influence of Nature.  Nature, and images of nature, have been proven to promote a healthier life. The National Parks are spotlighted, and I’ll have a surprise inspirational story for our first episode. My favorite, time saving app of the month, called “POCKET” is discussed.

(I encourage you to listen to the podcast above, as more is mentioned than can be included here.)

Landscape and nature images are proven to aid in healilng.

Landscape and nature images are proven to aid in healing.

If you have the “POCKET” app installed on your computer or tablet, all you have to do is click on the little picture of a pocket up in your browser bar to save that special article you don’t have time to read right now.

Then, in the evening or on the weekend when you have more time, you can open up POCKET and there are all the articles waiting for you in neat little pockets, lined up neatly like your “Pinterest” boards.

Whenever I do have time to go check out my articles saved in POCKET, I can look at them with a fresh perspective, and decide if they realy are worth my time to read. If not, I can delete it and read the other articles I’ve saved.

The great thing is, it also works on your smart-phone, so if your waiting in a doctors office, you can read the articles YOU want to read and not the the old dog-eared magazines in the waiting room.

Sunbeam on a Pond at Dusk

Sunbeam on a Pond at Dusk

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only will tune in.” George Washington Carver

Our culture with all its advances, is unable to fill the one void that is growing in this fast paced world. Time spent outdoors enjoying nature.

Nearly 200 million people in America are living with limited exposure to nature.

With stress levels increasing and eleven percent of Americans aged 12 years and over take antidepressant medication, where are we headed?

In a recent Stress in America survey, people ages 18-33 had the highest levels of stress. The report said these adults felt they weren’t equipped to manage their stress well.

Now the good news:
–Nature alleviates the impact of life stress and helps us deal with adversity. The greater the amount of nature exposure, the greater the benefits.

Children who learn to solve problems during free play outdoors are more likely to have the tools to handle the daily stress in their lives better. In fact multiple studies have been done on the importance of introducing children to nature.

Author and advocate Richard Louv wrote a book on it a few years ago that started a movement,
The book is called Last Child in the Woods, and the term he coined in that book is “nature-deficit-disorder”. Since then, he has had adults tell him that they need it too (nature), so he then wrote, The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of the Nature Deficit Disorder.

Hospitals and clinics are replacing the art in their waiting rooms with photographs and paintings of landscapes and other natural scenes. Their taking down the portraits and abstract art. In fact, abstract art has been shown to actually INCREASE anxiety in people.

Patients who are ill are not as comforted by abstract art, many prefer the positivism and state of calm created by the blues and greens of landscape and nature scenes instead.

Distraction therapy with nature sights and sounds has been found to significantly reduced pain in patients.

If your looking for a way to bring a more calming environment into your work place or home, try putting up some photographs of landscapes, simple things, like choosing the calming colors of blues and greens when decorating,

I’ve been using blues and greens in my classroom for years, and even eight year old children have told me that it makes the room look more calm and peaceful.

Remember, when people feel peaceful, they feel safe. When they feel safe, they feel more secure.

When you feel more secure, you feel more able to take on new things, learn new things, take on new challenges, all because you have that lifeline, that peaceful place you know you return to to feel safe.

And its not just America, and its not just the colors around you, but also the sights and sounds of nature that bring on that feeling of security.

People all over the world are learning the benefits of spending time outdoors.

In Japan they have a healthy pastime called forest bathing. A forest bathing trip, called Shinrin-yoku in Japanese, is similar to hiking. It’s a short, leisurely visit to a forest and is regarded as being similar to natural aromatherapy.

You may not be able to travel and see new landscapes, but instead I’m asking you to travel your favorite old path with new eyes, finding that great view and linger a bit longer. Take a few deep breaths, listen with new clarity and the sounds of nature, disregarding the sounds of traffic or voices that may be nearby.


I’m a Christian, but what ever your religion or faith, if you believe that there is a higher power, don’t you feel closer to this greater power when you are looking up at the vast sky above you?

When you feel part of a greater whole, you realize that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens in life.

It doesn’t matter what your level of education, talent, or skill is. You can help yourself and help enrich the lives of others when you become more aware of the importance of nature in our lives.

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” Henry Van Dyke

As I have been reading stories of renewal and re-careering for people in midlife, I came to recognize that people who make changes after living for years in the same life patterns, have much of the same things in common. For one thing, these people take chances and try new things. They also realize that life is not about the “what”, it’s about the “who”.

That led me to realize that the person I wanted to spotlight this week is you. For being brave, and wanting to make changes in your life, for wanting to look at the positive side of things, I celebrate you.


The National Park system in the US has millions of visitors from around the world every day.

Shelton Johnson, a Ranger at Yosemite National Park in California, cares deeply about getting people interested in National parks.

This link below will take you to on outstanding short video featuring Yosemite National Park in California, and the story of the “Buffalo Soldiers.”

The Way Home: Returning to the National Parks from NPCA on Vimeo.

Links and other resources can also be found on the Resources tabs at the top of this webpage.

Get the Pocket App

The Nature Principle

Impact of visual art in patient waiting rooms

Books on nature deficit disorder by Richard Louv

The Children and Nature Network

The Nature Rocks website with activites for kids

The National Parks

National Parks Podcasts

Explore the National Parks in the United States




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