Newborns and Nature

How can newborns benefit from being introduced to nature?

It is widely known that incorporating nature into the lives of adults can help increase mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Most studies focus on age groups from childhood through the elderly. But can newborns and infants benefit from being introduced to nature at such a young age? Research has found that newborns can benefit from nature in similar ways to older age groups. In addition, aspects of nature may be able to facilitate the acquisition of certain skills which older people have already developed. 

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Movies in Nature: The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings (2001) movies are known for their amazing use of nature to enhance the storyline. These movies follow a young hobbit named Frodo Baggins as he journeys to destroy a magic ring he inherited from his older cousin Bilbo Baggins. It is a race against time to destroy the ring as dark forces who know the true powers of the ring are on a mission to reclaim it. Hobbits live in a fictional land called the Shire and are known to have a green thumb which is represented by the lush greenery that fills every inch of the Shire. We see their positive relationship with nature in the way they care for their land and it is contrasted by scenes of the dark and barren lands where the dark forces dwell. It is interesting to see how the “villains” of the story are characterized to have a poor relationship with nature while the “good guys” live in a flourishing, green garden. All three of the movies were filmed in New Zealand and feature spectacular landscapes. If you’re someone with an interest in films that feature nature, check out these films!

Nature and Pain Relief

Can nature provide us a natural form of pain relief?

Nature has so much more to offer than just something nice to look at. Pain relief is just one small aspect of the vast benefits nature has to offer us! For example, research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, focused on the effects of forest therapy on participants struggling with chronic widespread pain (Han, J. W., Choi, H., Jeon, Y. H., Yoon, C. H., Woo, J. M., & Kim, W., 2016). Forest therapy aims to reduce pain through specific physical activities and psychological approaches which take place in a natural environment. The participants in this study engaged in bodily exercises and mindfulness-based meditation in a forest while measuring physiological changes. The results showed that forest therapy was effective in improving the psychological and physiological symptoms associated with chronic widespread pain. This raises the question of whether there may be other ways that nature can provide us with pain relief.

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Nature Mindfulness Journal

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? Practicing mindfulness is an effective way to get out of your head and focus your attention in a productive way. Journaling has shown to be very beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety and can even help improve your communication skills. Pairing mindfulness, journaling, and the restorative benefits of nature is an amazing way to improve your overall wellbeing. Below I have included a page for each day of the week with prompts for you to complete. Journaling is a great way to start or end your day, maybe take the sheets with you on a walk and do some writing outside!

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