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N is for Nature

You might already know that nature is good for you. But did you know a simple tree can help you recover after surgery, and the ground is full of antidepressant bacteria? Taking a stroll in the woods isn't just about breathing in fresh air; you're inhaling phytoncides, the "essential oils" emitted by trees. These not only protect trees from germs but also reduce stress hormones in you. Beneath your feet, hidden in the soil, lives Mycobacterium vaccae, a friendly bacterium that has anxiety-modulating effects, akin to the impact of antidepressants on neurons. It's no surprise that kids or gardeners who get their hands dirty feel so happy afterward.

Various plants and fungi share similar components known for enhancing mood and relaxing the mind. The list is extensive, and our understanding grows continually. Given humanity's deep connection to nature, often referred to as "biophilia," it's not surprising that even viewing nature scenes, either physically or through images, promotes positive emotions and increased vitality. This means you don't have to immerse all your senses in forest bathing every day to get the benefits. Simply being able to gaze at greenery outside your window offers a head start in healing.

Roger Ulrich's study, "View through a window may influence recovery from surgery," is a wonderful reminder that sometimes we need to take a break from our screens and connect with the real world we come from - nature.

Do you want to learn more about nature?

📚 "Shinrin-Yoku" from Qing Li. He is a is a Professor at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo and President of the Japanese Society of Forest Therapy.

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N is for Nature
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