Tori Rodriguez, MA, LPC writes about the benefits in this article for Psychiatry Advisor:
"As humans become less connected with nature, we lose an essential health buffer. “There is mounting evidence that contact with nature has significant positive impacts on mental health,” said Mardie Townsend, PhD, an honorary professor at the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University in Australia.
“It is associated with reduced levels of stress — which also has huge ramifications for physical health, reduced levels of depression and anxiety, increased resilience, increased engagement with learning for children and adolescents otherwise disengaged from the education system, improved self-esteem and increased capacity to engage socially,” she told Psychiatry Advisor.
Such effects have been found for not only being immersed in nature — like in the woods or a park — but also for looking out the window at natural scenes and even simply looking at photos of them.
In a 2015 study, people who looked at scenes of awe-inspiring nature (grand mountain ranges and giant waterfalls, for example) had an even greater increase in mood than those who viewed “mundane” nature scenes such as parks and gardens. The awe-inspiring scenes also encouraged a more pro-social value orientation among participants.
The sounds of nature appear to have similar benefits, according to a 2013 study showing that hearing recorded sounds from nature had similar effects on recovery from a stressful situation as the study involving nature images. As for time in the outdoors, researchers from Nippon Medical School in Japan compared the effects of walking through a forest versus walking through a city. Their results show that “forest bathing,” as they call it, not only led to decreased stress hormones, but actually increased the natural killer cells of the immune system and the expression of anti-cancer proteins."
We've had some awe-inspiring nature (grand mountain ranges and giant waterfalls) photos this year. While I'm happy to keep providing Australian nature photos, but there's a severe lack of "grand mountain ranges and giant waterfalls" where I live, so those of you that are better situated in that regard, please share!!