Benefits of Nature Photography in Your Home
Sure, a long hike or a weekend camping trip are great ways to unwind and escape reality for a little bit, but why bother with all the bugs or the blisters or the sunburn when you could bring nature to you? Imagine it -- all that majesty and mystery and sunlight and water contained in your own personal portal hanging on your wall. All without ever leaving your home.
The driving rain on your windows can’t dampen the sunshine inside. Do you live in Arizona? Well, THIS is called snow. Imagine it falling gently in your living room. Whatever escape you’re looking for, you can have it -- all it takes is the right hook to hang it on the wall. Of course there is no true replacement to being immersed in nature, but why limit yourself when you can have the best of both worlds?
Whether you’re looking for an excuse to bail on your next camping trip or not, displaying nature photography in your home can have a real impact on your overall health and mood. Nature photography has even been scientifically proven to have mental and physical health benefits. No more camping and an anxiety cure? Sounds like a dream come true. Looking at awe-inspiring art can lead to a happier, healthier life.
Fun Fact: Your Brain Doesn’t Know What’s Real
Apparently, your brain has the same reaction to looking at nature as it does to actually being in nature. While I feel a little guilty about playing this trick on my brain, what a cool shortcut to health and happiness, you know?
The fact of the matter is that people who live in cities and urban areas are 17% more likely to suffer psychological distress of some kind -- anxiety, depression, the usual. You might be thinking you’re perfectly fine living your big city life, fulfilling your big city dreams. I’m sure you’re right. But like it or not, nature is absolutely mandatory in some capacity in order for our brains to function properly. We need it every once in a while to stay sane. Let’s face it, even New Yorkers -- the definitive city-dwellers, if you will -- live in a city that’s centerpiece is a huge park, meant to give them a much needed break from the high energy, high intensity lifestyle of the city.
There’s a reason why nature-based therapy is a real thing. Studies find that those who live in close proximity to nature have higher life satisfaction and a more positive outlook on life. Simply observing nature can improve productivity, concentration, and even limit the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. Nature scenes nourish our brains in ways that the city can’t; real or photograph simply doesn’t matter -- our brains respond to these stimuli in the same rejuvenating way.
Study after study show that nature lowers our stress levels and helps us feel happier. Why do you think we try to take so many activities that could be enjoyed indoors and move them outdoors? Most of us would much rather walk through a park than walk on a treadmill. I can shop at a big grocery store, but I’m much happier at a weekend farmers market in the square on an autumn afternoon.
The point is, your brain thrives when it gets a regular dose of nature. And when you can’t get out into nature as much as you might like, you might as well do the next best thing and surround yourself with it inside. Filling your home with nature photography will remind your brain of all the things it finds calming, rejuvenating, and healing about the outside world and trigger the same mental boost you might get from a tree-lined jog through the park -- your attitude, your focus, and even your overall mental health will dramatically improve.
Nature Literally Heals
Quick story time. In the early 1980s, a researcher visited a hospital in a small town in Pennsylvania. The patients in the wing he visited were all recovering from gallbladder surgery in identical rooms. The surgery was simple and most patients recovered in a week or two. However, the researcher started to wonder about what caused the “or two” part of the equation. What small differences made the recovery time vary from patient to patient?
The difference was this: some rooms on one side of the hospital faced a brick wall, while others had a view of a small stand of trees. Do you see where this is going? On average, the patients with the view of the lovely wall needed an extra day to recover before getting to go home. They were also more likely to be depressed during their stay and experienced more pain than their lucky, tree-viewing counterparts. Apart from the views, the rooms were identical. Their treatment was identical. The patients were all very similar. There was no explanation other than the differing views. The bottom line: the patients who had a view of nature literally recovered faster than those stuck looking at the brick wall.
Continued studies have found that natural environments routinely speed up the body’s ability to heal; even adding houseplants to your life can speed up the process. As pretty as that Spider Plant on your coffee table is, a houseplant can’t make you feel like you live at the base of a picturesque mountain or remind you of the babble of a tumbling waterfall every morning when you wake up. Nature photography can.
If you still need further convincing, the International Journal of Health Geographics released a study that showed that nature images even provided viewers with protection from having a stroke. Similarly, in areas with fewer trees, residents had a higher risk of stroke mortality. So, looking at nature images can literally save your life. And who doesn’t want to live longer and healthier? You might even say that investing in nature photography is an important investment in your health. Who needs health insurance or a low sodium diet when you’ve got some nicely framed trees? I really have your best interests at heart, here.
All Jokes Aside
While I’m no scientist, I do experience the powerful impact of nature every single day when I head out to capture my next photograph. I know how nature makes me feel and I want to bring that to your home. I also believe in the long history of studies that have shown us the lasting impact of regularly viewing nature images and am proud to contribute to whatever benefits -- health or otherwise -- you might reap from owning my work.
More than anything, my goal is to show you views of our natural world in ways you’ve never seen them before. After all, displaying nature photography in your home gives you the opportunity to make believe you live anywhere in the world. And as we previously established, your brain can’t actually tell what’s real. So, if you fill your home with dramatic images of Iceland or the majestic mountains of Colorado… in a way, don’t you actually live there?