The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative
"Highly informative and remarkably entertaining." —Elle
From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas—and the answers they yield—are more urgent than ever.
Outside magazine contributor Williams (Breasts) writes frequently about the environment; in this extensively researched book, her travels take her to Japan, Korea, Singapore, Scotland, and elsewhere in search of hard evidence that exposure to nature causes positive changes in the brain. Her curiosity was piqued when she and her family moved from Boulder, Colo., to Washington, D.C.; soon, she found herself yearning for the mountains, and feeling disoriented and depressed. The idea that the open air enhances creativity and outlook isn't new; Williams traces it as far back as Aristotle. What are new, however, are current and ongoing studies by scientists (many of whom readers will encounter in these pages), who are using forests and natural landscapes as laboratories to learn more about how nature affects human health. Williams brings some intriguing observations to light; in the forests of South Korea, for instance, she learns that time among the cypress trees reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Within the U.S., she finds programs using nature to help kids with ADHD and veterans with PTSD. She also reveals how city planners can successfully bring nature into the urban environment. This powerful environmental call to arms proposes that for optimal well-being, regular doses of nature are not only recommended but required.