When was the last time that you got outdoors to truly enjoy mother nature? How long have you been working without a break, could it be impacting the way you perform at your job? In this article I take a deep dive into how nature can positively impact your work performance, sanity and overall emotional well-being. Not to mention, make you more productive at work!
There have been numerous studies done by Stanford Professor Dr. Katie Curhan, Ed.D on contact with nature and a persons sense of well-being both in general and in the work force. One study study showed that hospital patients with a window view of trees and nature rather than brick walls recovered from surgery more quickly, had fewer injections of pain killers and had fewer negative comments written about in nurse logs. Is this just a coincidence? No. Nature can have a profound impact on everything that we do in the workplace. Dr Curhan provides additional proof with another study on mental stress stating:
Participants who walked for forty minutes in an urban area heavily populated with trees and other vegetation reported more positive emotions and performed better on subsequent cognitive tasks than did participants who walked in a pleasant urban environment without greenery.
What is biophilia?
The term biophilia literally means "love of life or living systems." Erich Fromm and Edward Wilson first hypothesized about biophilias to suggest that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Basically, it means that there is a human urge to affiliate with other forms of life and that we need this bond in order to live a complete life. If we interact with plants, animals and nature in general it will bring us life. This dates back to our ancestors as being a crucial part of living a fulfilling life. Plants and animals provide nutrition to our bodies. Our body knows this and being around nature helps to calm our feelings and cause us to be more at ease.
Changes in your environment also stimulate creativity. If you're ever stuck on a problem or can't find the solution to something you've been working on, try taking a break and enjoying nature for a few hours. It will clear your head and bring on new types of input and stimulations, which most people need. This stimulation will help with your creativity and solving complex problems you never thought possible.
It's recommended to take a 15 minute walk one or two times a day for optimal work performance. You should do this outside in nature if at all possible. Stanford research suggests that doing this will increase your productivity at work by an additional 30 percent each day.
Here are a few additional ways you can connect a little more with Nature in your office:
- Take two daily 15 minute breaks where you walk outdoors
- Put a plant at your work station
- Put a picture of nature as the backdrop of your computer screen
- Shop at a local farmers market
- Plant a tree near your local office and watch it grow
- Walk or ride a bike weekly to work
- Gift someone a plant in your office, it'll cheer you up
Nature is one of those things we can't live without. It's been proven to help people focus, as well as help people remain happier in their lives. Take this time out of your day today to enjoy nature, it's worth it. Let me know how it goes!