Nature in the urban environment
It can be difficult for urban dwellers to find the time to connect with nature. Fortunately there are simple ways to bring nature into our lives. Spending time in nature helps to reduce stress. Viewing nature can also enhance creativity and attention. Therefore finding ways to bring nature into our work lives can promotes both workplace wellbeing and work performance.
The benefits of nature for workplace wellbeing
Many research studies have explored the benefits of spending time in nature. They have also studied people viewing pictures and videos of nature. This research helps us to see many ways that nature can enhance workplace wellbeing.
Nature reduces workplace stress
Spending time in nature can reduce the physical impact of stress. It also has other health benefits. A Japanese study found that sitting in nature reduced the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. There were also other physical signs of relaxation. These include a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate, which suggests a reduction in stress (Miyazaki et al, 2011). Another study found there were less self-reports of stress related illness when people spent more time in urban green environments (Grahn, P. and Stigsdotter, U.A, 2003).
Looking at a virtual nature scene can also reduce stress. An early study found that seeing a video of nature improved the recovery from stress. This was compared with viewing a virtual urban environment (Ulrich et al, 1991). Therefore watching a video of nature during a work break may help to reduce stress and enhance workplace wellbeing.
Nature enhances attention and creativity
Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that natural environments improve our attention. A research study found that walking in nature for 50-55mins enhanced the attention of subjects. They also report that if they looked at pictures of nature for 10 mins their attention also increased. This suggests that nature helps to improve cognitive function (Bergman M.G, Jonides, J. and Kaplan, S. 2008), which is likely to improve work performance.
Viewing natural scenes can also promote creativity. A research study found that views of nature help to increase the perception of creativity (Mitchell McCoy, J. & Evans G.W. 2010). Creativity can assist in problem solving and promote innovation at work.
Simple ways to naturally improve workplace wellbeing
There are many simple ways you can include nature in your working day to promote workplace wellbeing. Watching a video of a natural scene during a rest break can help you to reduce workplace stress. It is easy to use pictures of nature as a screen saver. A picture of nature on the wall at work can also help you to bring nature indoors.
Work meetings can take place in a cafe in a local park. This can assist us to think more creatively, which helps with problem solving. The natural setting may also reduce stress and enhance attention.
In a popular TED talk, Nilofer Merchant suggests that meetings between two people can include a walk outside to enhance communication and ideas (Merchant, N. 2013). This is a simple way to improve your relationships with colleagues. The exercise may also improve health and wellbeing. The meeting can also include a walk in the park to reduce stress and enhance the flow of ideas.
Connect with nature
It is also important to visit nature regularly. There are beautiful parks and gardens in our cities. A visit to a local park helps us to reduce the stress of modern living. You can also spend time relaxing in your own in your garden or take your dog for a walk.
Spending time in nature is a beautiful sensory experience that enriches our lives. Contact with nature helps to reduce our stress. It also enhances both creativity and attention. We can even experience the benefits of nature by viewing pictures and videos of natural settings. This makes it easy for us to bring nature to work. This can reduce workplace stress and enhance work performance.
Life Coaching in the Park
Essence of Life Coaching offers coaching in the beautiful parks of Melbourne. This combines the benefits of Life Coaching with the healing power of nature. Life Coaching has many benefits. It helps people to increase awareness of their thoughts and life choices. Nature has the ability to enhance attention and cognition. Therefore, it is the perfect location for a coaching conversation.
Coaching in the Park is a unique service offered in select locations in Melbourne. It is available for Life Coaching, Wellness Coaching and Business Coaching for Wellness Practitioners. We meet in a cafe in the park, surrounded by nature. Coaching in the Park is available in Fairfield, Moonee Ponds and the parks surrounding Melbourne CBD.
Contact Robyn Frank for more information.
Mobile: 0412 737 309
About Robyn Frank
In my early twenties, I became interested in natural medicine. As a result, I studied massage and aromatherapy. A few years later, I opened my private practice. Later I began to work as an Aromatherapy Consultant in Aged Care facilities.
In 1998 I was offered a role as an aromatherapy lecturer for the Australian College of Natural Medicine. It was here that I was awarded an Academic Blue Award for Excellence.
The next step was to study to be a life coach. After completing a qualification in Life Coaching I started Essence of Life Coaching in 2005. In my coaching work I combine my wellness experience with my coaching skills. As a result I specialise in stress management and wellness coaching. In addition, I also offer career coaching and business coaching for wellness business owners.
In my life coaching practice I support people to make simple lifestyle changes. This helps them to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. In addition, I also facilitate workshops for stress management and workplace wellbeing in Melbourne.
Note from the author
This article is not a replacement for health care or therapy. It is important to seek individual health care if you have health problems. Talk to your doctor or a qualified health practitioner if you have problems with your health. It is important to seek individual professional assistance if you feel you are unable to cope with stress or are living with a mental illness. Talk to your doctor or a psychologist or counsellor if you feel that you need assistance.
People reading this article must be 18 years and over. They must also be capable of taking responsibility for their own physical and mental health and their own life choices.
According to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (US) (2017):
Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe for healthy people, although there have been a few reports of negative experiences such as increased anxiety. People with serious physical or mental health problems should discuss relaxation techniques with their health care providers.
Bergman M.G, Jonides, J. and Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature, Psychological Science, Volume: 19 issue: 12, page(s): 1207-1212. Retrieved on the internet on the 3rd of May 2018 from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/23718837_The_Cognitive_Benefits_of_Interacting_With_Nature
Grahn, P. and Stigsdotter, U.A, (2003). Landscape planning and stress, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening (2003): 1–18. Retrieved on the internet on the 3rd of May 2018 from: http://www.academia.edu/36071497/Landscape_planning_and_stress
Merchant, N. (2013). Got a meeting? Take a walk, TED 2013. Retrieved on the internet on the 3rd May 2018 from: https://www.ted.com/talks/nilofer_merchant_got_a_meeting_take_a_walk?utm_campaign=&utm_medium=&utm_source=&utm_content=talk&utm_term=business
Mitchell McCoy, J. and Evans, G.W (2010). The Potential Role of the Physical Environment in Fostering Creativity (Abstract), Creativity Research Journal. Retrieved on the internet on the 3rd of May 2018 from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/S15326934CRJ1434_11
Miyazaki et al, (2011). Preventive medical effects of nature therapy (Abstract), Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011 Sep; 66(4):651-6. Retrieved on the internet on the 3rd of May 2018 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21996763
National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (US) (2017). Relaxation Techniques for Health, Bethesda: US Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from the internet on the 4th of January 2018 from: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm
Ulrich et al, (1991). Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments (Abstract), Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 11, Issue 3, September 1991, Pages 201-230. Retrieved on the internet on the 3rd of May 2018 from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494405801847?via%3Dihub
© Copyright Robyn Frank, 2018.
Image of Robyn Frank by Breeana Dunbar Photography