At one point or another, everyone aspires to seek and experience some form of nature contact. Contact with nature can allow reconnection with yourself and to mother earth; whether physically engaged or listening to natural sounds. Nature views and sounds can also foster overall well-being by increasing relaxation, positive attitude, and productivity along with reducing stress and having calming effects. To learn more about nature benefits, check out related article included below.
In light of social distancing and as the winter months persist, options for outdoor enjoyment might be harder to find. Thinking of ways to experience nature may come to halt. But does it have to? There are many ways nature can be experienced in the comfort of your own home. One way is by bringing the outdoors inside using HIN’s “Sounds of Nature” Audio Playlist via Spotify.
Through the use of your senses, transcend your mind to experience natural landscapes and natural elements that are out of reach or out of season. HIN “Sounds of Nature” is an audio playlist that captures sounds of natural environments and natural elements to stimulate and inspire the senses. Whether it’s rainforest rain, waterfalls, ocean waves, thunder, or a crackling fire, HIN “Sounds of Nature” Spotify playlist provides an alternative experience to nature that is relaxing and soothing.
Access the Nature playlist via Spotify
- Click on the link above to access the playlist.
- Spotify offers a free plan that provides access to playlists, new music, and the ability to share with other at no cost.
- Already a member? Just login and search: HIN Sounds of Nature Playlist.
Wanting to create your own personalized nature playlist?
Here are steps to guide you via Spotify:
- Access Spotify and click “New Playlist”. Then create a name for the playlist. You also have the option to include a description for the playlist as well.
- Browse to find nature sounds. There are a lot of options available on Spotify, and this can be flexible/personalized to what someone is looking to experience when listening to nature sounds
- Narrow down nature sounds that capture your senses. As you go, start adding soundtracks to the playlist you created! This is done by right clicking on the track of your choosing. Then click on the tab reading “Add to Playlist”. Finally, choose and click the named playlist that is designated for the track/where you would like to add it.
- Include sufficient variety of nature sounds and elements to make up a playlist. Time duration of playlist can be flexible and personalized to however long or short you want the playlist to be.
Alternative Sound Resources
Try these websites for nature sounds that you can also stream:
Benefits of Nature Sounds, Nature Contact and Wellbeing
Contact with nature “is a basic human need: not a cultural amenity, not an individual preference, but a universal primary need” (Heerwagen, 2009). Depending on the kind of region one may live in and factors that affect accessibility, engaging with nature may be limited or fruitful. Nonetheless nature is all around us and can also be accessed in many ways throughout our daily lives. One example is nature sounds. Nature sounds has been shown to “provide particular restorative benefits in contexts (i.e., following difficult cognitive tasks)” (Hedger et al., 2018). A conceptual shift arises when a listener simply listens without having to explicitly remember (Hedger et al., 2018). Effects on cognition and result in psychological benefits may be possible in that “nature can restore directed attention through soft fascination (i.e., a soft capturing of involuntary attention)” (Hedger et al., 2018). The directors of the HIN Project explain that “an individual’s central inhibitory capacity is able to relax and engage effortlessly with gently fascinating elements in the environment…when one’s involuntary attention is engaged, it relaxes the person’s directed attention and allows it to restore” (Izenstark & Ebata, 2016).
A natural environment, even simulated, can facilitate attention restoration as long as the environment can meet certain conditions. The first is that the environment must promote “the sense of being away, which represents a conceptual transformation” (Hedger et al., 2018) The second is that the environment needs to be “sufficiently rich and engaging”. The third is that there must be “compatibility between the environment and the individual’s goals and desires…an individual should not have to second guess or closely monitor their own behavior in the context of the environment” (Hedger et al., 2018). An experiment regarding the effect of nature sounds on cognitive performance proposed that “the use of headphones and relatively long (20-s) sound clips may have contributed to the nature sound’s extent, facilitating restoration” (Hedger et al., 2018).
In terms of well-being, research has also shown that “improved moods and reduced stress are the most consistent benefits of nature contact across research studies (Heerwagen, 2009). Findings from a hospital study also reveals that “subjects exposed to a stressor recover fast and more positively if they are shown nature scenes or urban scenes with nature, rather than urban scenes devoid of natural elements” (Heerwagen, 2009).
Heerwagen, J. & USDA Forest Service. (2009). Biophilia, Health, and Well-being. Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-Being Through Urban Landscapes. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cXi5k773X8oC&oi=fnd&pg=PA39&dq=nature+sounds+and+well-being&ots=452q7fbyF5&sig=QlVP_PVZLr6GtQ7vTy5-s4bXqGQ#v=onepage&q=nature%20sounds%20and%20well-being&f=false
Izenstark, D. & Ebata, A. (2016). Theorizing family-based nature activities and family functioning: The integration of attention restoration theory with a family routines and rituals perspective. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 8, 137-153. doi: 10.1111/jftr.12138
Van Hedger, S. C., Nusbaum, H. C., Clohisy, L., Jaeggi, S. M., Buschkuehl, M., & Berman, M. G. (2018). Of cricket chirps and car horns: The effect of nature sounds on cognitive performance. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26(2), 522–530. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-018-1539-1