Nature's Lifeforce: Fostering Holistic Well-Being in Today's Fast-Paced World
By Mark Hanze 4/13/2024


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Embracing Nature’s Healing Touch



In an era characterized by relentless urbanization, digital immersion, and post-pandemic lockdown, the call of nature resonates more strongly than ever. A Journal Article published in the National Library of Medicine by Nicole V. DeVille et al, of the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard, states “Urbanization, screen dependency, and the changing nature of childhood and parenting have led to increased time indoors, creating physical and emotional distancing from nature and time spent in natural environments.” The profound connection between spending time in nature and enhancing overall well-being has been acknowledged across cultures and epochs. Let’s delve into the symbiotic relationship between individuals and nature as I shed light on how immersing myself in natural settings fosters physical, mental, and emotional well-being.


Nature offers a sanctuary for physical rejuvenation, inviting me to engage in activities that nurture the body. Whether it's hiking along trails, cycling through countryside landscapes, or swimming in lakes and oceans, the outdoors has much to offer. The therapeutic effects of physical activity or observing nature extend beyond mere fitness trends and social media snaps; it encompasses holistic health benefits.


In a study led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, White infers “research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing.” As I live with a bicuspid aortic valve birth defect, nature provides an outlet to reduce the effects of living life on life’s terms from exacerbating my circumstance. Moreover, White’s findings show the abundance of oxygen-rich air and sunlight in natural environments bolsters the immune system, enhancing resilience against illnesses. Even hobbies like my gourmet mycology farming and volunteering for light trail clearing throughout local parks not only promotes physical activity but also cultivates a deeper appreciation and gratitude for the Earth's bounty and fosters a sense of stewardship towards the environment.


Amidst the chaotic details of modern life, nature offers me a tranquil respite for the mind, allowing it to unwind and recalibrate. The soothing sounds of rustling leaves and melodies of chirping birds, rhythmic flow of water, or briefly stopping to admire a landscape overlook instill a sense of serenity and calmness. Numerous studies, including nature-based therapy (NBT), have demonstrated the effects of nature-based interventions in alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression.


Exposure to natural environments has been associated with reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and enhanced cognitive function. An article published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology by Tanja Schiebel et al, hypothesizes biophilia in humans possess an innate affinity for nature, and when deprived of it, we experience adverse psychological and physiological effects. Reconnecting with nature may not only restore this intrinsic bond but could also stimulate a sense of interconnectedness and belonging.


Nature has a profound capacity to evoke a myriad of emotions, ranging from fascination and wonder to tranquility and joy. The sheer beauty and majesty of natural landscapes evoke a sense of inspiring grandeur. Whether it's witnessing a breathtaking sunset over the horizon, marveling at the intricacy of a delicate flower, or basking in the warmth of a campfire under a star-studded sky as a little boy bedding down after a day of hiking through the Adirondacks with my family; these experiences have evoked a profound sense of connection to something greater than myself. Moreover, spending time in nature promotes social bonding, as we often engage in outdoor activities with friends and family, strengthening relationships and facilitating a sense of community.


This leads me to find that nature serves as a conduit for spiritual enrichment and transcendence in my life. The boundless expanse of the natural world prompts contemplation of life's mysteries and the interconnectedness of all living beings. Whether it's through meditation in serene surroundings, communing with wildlife in its natural habitat, or simply attuning myself to the rhythms of Earth, nature provides a sacred space for introspection and self-discovery. This spiritual dimension of nature transcends religious boundaries, offering solace, guidance, and renewal to seekers of all faiths.


I propose that the profound connection between nature and well-being is undeniable. From physical vitality to mental clarity, emotional resilience, and spiritual enrichment, immersing oneself in natural environments nurtures the body, mind, and soul. As stewards of the Earth, it is imperative that we prioritize our relationship with nature, recognizing its inherent value of ecopsychology in fostering holistic well-being. By embracing the restorative power of nature, we can cultivate a healthier, happier, and more harmonious existence for ourselves and future generations.


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Mark Hanze is a passionate advocate for empowering people to live their best lives. Originally from New York City, Mark is currently pursuing a B.A. while studying psychology and biology at WCSU; bringing a unique blend of urban and rural insight, academic rigor, and authentic life experiences to his discussions. With a commitment to fostering open dialogue and promoting personal growth, Mark aspires to making a difference in the world by promoting a deeper holistic connection to nature.



† The statements in this article are based on my personal life journeys documented in unpublished journals along with research from scholarly and popular publications. I share a point of view and what works for me in congruence with the sum of all my learned experiences. However, it's crucial to emphasize that the content provided here is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It's always advisable to seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health and well-being.


Works Cited

DeVille, Nicole V., et al. “Time Spent in Nature Is Associated with Increased Pro-Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 14, July 2021, p. 7498,

Kang, Minjung, et al. “The Mechanisms of Nature-Based Therapy on Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and Life Satisfaction: Examining Mindfulness in a Two-Wave Mediation Model.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 14, Frontiers Media, Dec. 2023,

Rozzi, Ricardo. “Earth Stewardship.” Ecology and Ethics, Springer International Publishing, 2015,

Schiebel, Tanja, et al. “Testing the Biophilia Theory: Automatic Approach Tendencies towards Nature.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 79, Feb. 2022, p. 101725,

White, Mathew P., et al. “Spending at Least 120 Minutes a Week in Nature Is Associated with Good Health and Wellbeing.” Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, June 2019,