Nature can have huge positive befits for people. Simply walking in natural surroundings can be beneficial. Researchers at the University of Michigan (UoM) found that walking in a park in any season, or even viewing pictures of nature, can help improve memory and attention. Psychology researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan at UoM found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent only one hour interacting with nature.
These researchers believe the findings could have broader impact on helping people who may be suffering from mental fatigue. The researchers believe that people are far more likely to be satisfied with their lives when their environment supports three basic needs: the ability to understand and explore; to feel they make a difference; and to feel competent and effective.
Groundbreaking research by Professor Jules Pretty of the University of Essex shows that exercising in nature has huge individual and social benefits. Ninety percent of those participating showed increased self esteem. Seventy one percent reported decreased levels of anxiety and the same percentage said they felt less tense.
“People with access to nearby natural settings have been found to be healthier overall than other individuals, and are more satisfied with life in general," says Dr. Mardie Townsend a professor in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, who has recently reviewed the research literature on nature and human health.
"Having access to appealing natural environments encourages physical activity, which has obvious benefits. It also has a calming effect, reducing stress and blood pressure, even cholesterol," says Townsend.
We have been in contact with both Professors Townsend and Pretty and have designed the Nature Seychelles Green Health program based on their research. Now we have recruited Robin Hanson, a Yoga teacher who was until a month ago the Manger of a Nature Reserve and RAMSAR site in the UK, to run the program. We hope to make a new and valuable contribution to the well being of society by reconnecting people with themselves and with nature.