Benefits of Communication within Nature Settings

Research shows that the nature aspect of the outdoors plays a large factor in the way we communicate with one another.

Having conversations with one another outdoors might be easier and result in more positive outcomes compared to conversations we may have indoors. The overall points and topics of our conversations may not change in the different settings, but being outdoors may influence the way we perceive these conversations as well as the quality of interactions. A variety of studies suggest that spending time outside may improve our daily interactions. 

Nature Can Affect Parent-Child Relationships 

Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of nature on human health. However, new findings suggest that being in nature may also have communication benefits. A study by Cameron-Faulker (2018), compared communication between parents and young children while being in natural versus indoor environments. The study found that parents and children engaged in longer, more connected communication episodes in natural environments than in indoor environments. It also found that there were higher levels of responsiveness in the natural environment when compared to the indoor environment indicating that the interactions were longer and much more frequent.

These findings suggest that parent and child interactions are more positive in the outdoor setting versus indoors. 

An article by Izenstark and Ebata, (2017) looked at the outcomes of attention on mothers and daughters among natural environments. They noted how walk taken in a natural environment versus indoors at a mall played a role in their interactions and tasks. Overall the conclusion from this study was that there were more positive outcomes in the natural setting since the mothers and daughters were more relaxed and their attention was higher. The reason for the positive outcomes is due to how individuals are mentally restored and in a better mood when surrounded by nature. This then leads to individuals being able to easily read the cues of others causing them to respond in a sensitive fashion. 

The findings suggested that the individuals were more connected, meaning that the pairs engaged in longer, connected communication episodes in the natural environments. The findings also concluded that there were higher levels of responsiveness since the pairs had a higher frequency of responses in the natural environment when compared to the indoor environment indicating that the interactions were longer and much more frequent.

These findings prove that parent and child interactions are more positive in the outdoor setting versus indoors. The positive role of nature in communication with families would highly benefit those that have a hard time communicating within the home setting. 

Additionally, based on an article by Dina Izenstark and Aaron T. Ebata called Connecting Children and Families to Nature, it mentions that the outdoors are a positive influence in families since natural settings help increase social interactions among them and the families are able to get away from their everyday life stressors. This article also proves that families are able to pick up new skills through the bonds they build with one another such as parents and children learning how to skip rocks. 

The Beauty of Nature Influences Kindness 

There may be other reasons for having more effective and positive interactions outdoors. An article titled An occasion for unselfing: Beautiful nature leads to prosociality by Jia Wei Zhang et. al., shows that individuals feel a greater sense of positive emotions when they are exposed to urban settings and that these positive emotions are linked to prosociality, which is the intent to benefit others.

❝Unselfing– a process that motivates the individual to transcend self-interest and become more generous and kind.❞

When thinking about nature affecting positive emotions and prosociality as well as restoring attention and reducing stress, it is reasonable to assume that these factors will have an effect on the quality and outcome of conversations. 

Take It Outside

Whether the situation pertains to workplace conversations, romantic relationship conflicts, or parent-child interactions, taking the conversations outside could be for the better. The saying “let’s take it outside”, often refers to the typically aggressive ay people might think when having an argument. But, “taking it outside” might have positive results as well. If you ever encounter a serious interpersonal situation then taking the conversation outdoors might be a good strategy that has support from science. this strategy talks about the positive way of “taking it outside” rather than the typical aggressive way people may think when in reference to arguments. Therefore, if you ever encounter a serious situation then taking the conversation outdoors is a highly suggested option due to the science behind it. 

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