Nature is Waiting to Cheer Everyone Up!

The National Trust, the charity behind a new study showing the potential for nature to raise happiness levels, is now busy bringing it home to us in time for Earth Day.

Apr 21, 2020

On Earth Day, an annual calendar event for environmental appreciation and protection marking the birth of the modern environmental movement, we’re highlighting a recent study, “Noticing Nature”. Its findings support something nature-lovers have always instinctively known — people who feel connected to nature are happier!

Now that our stay-at-home life is limiting our ability to enjoy the great outdoors, the conservation charity behind the study, the National Trust, is bringing some of the beauty and calm of nature to us at home through their inspiring “slow TV” videos, and nature photos. And as our short video clip shows, offering us “little moments of joy”, even for people living in apartments:

“It’s good for your wellbeing to take a moment to appreciate the nature all around us just outside the window — from the clouds in the sky to glimpsing the bird on your street, and down to the patches of green in the cracks of the paving stones.”

And this has to be one of the loveliest nature-infused PSA videos on social distancing ever!

Nature brings happiness: The “Noticing Nature” report
This newly-published “Noticing Nature” report has some amazing news! Adults with a stronger connection to nature are 15 percent happier compared to the general population, and 19 percent more likely than the general population to feel that things they do in life are worthwhile, a higher predictor than age or marital status!

The study, a joint project between The National Trust and the University of Derby’s Nature Connectedness Research Group, set out to explore our bond with the natural world. It looked at things like participation in nature activities, and pro-nature conservation action, but also “nature connectedness”, a globally- recognized psychological concept describing the closeness of a person’s relationship to nature.

Most respondents felt a high level of concern about the state of nature, and signs of this like declining wildlife. And this concern is translated into practical action as pro-conservation behaviors. For example, 30 percent of children often talk to others about the importance of caring for nature and the environment, with 40 percent doing this sometimes.

But the research team were disappointed at the weak connection to nature among many respondents. For instance, 90 percent of kids and 57 percent of adults rarely or never watch the sunrise. And the state of the environment as well as personal wellbeing is at stake.

National Trust Director, Andy Beer puts it like this: “We know that if people fall in love with nature they'll be more likely to look after it. This is why we're encouraging everyone to notice the beauty of the world around them.”

Bite-sized nature takeouts!
So the National Trust has a goal: To help build a stronger relationship with nature, from childhood onwards by encouraging the public to take baby steps in fitting nature-related activities into our everyday lives. These can include relaxing in a garden, and watching the stars.

Even during the current lockdown, they’ve wasted no time in sharing some gorgeous nature multimedia to appeal to our senses and whet our appetite for more immersive nature experiences.

Their social media posts are spreading the happiness that nature offers to us in our homes. The “Slow TV” clips offer an almost meditative calm as they share the sensual joy we can reap from seeing trees and flowers, and just listening to coastal sounds and birdsong.

But the National Trust aren’t the only ones bringing nature experiences home to us. A new Meditative Story created with Thrive Global sees ecologist, Carl Safina, discussing the craving for connection that unites people, animals and nature. These are stories, embedding music and meditation prompts into their storylines, making them a route into mindfulness practice.

Happy Earth Day!

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DAPHNE KASRIEL ALEXANDER, EDITOR IN CHIEF
Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.