A guide to nature immersion: psychological and physiological benefits

Lim, Pei Yi, Dillon, Denise, and Chew, Peter K. H. (2020) A guide to nature immersion: psychological and physiological benefits. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (16). 5989.

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Nature exposure has been renowned for its positive physiological and psychological benefits. Recent years have seen a rise in nature immersion programs that make use of Guided Forest Therapy walks in a standard sequence of sensory awareness activities to expose participants to natural environments in a safe but effective manner. The study aimed to compare the efficacy of guided versus unguided nature immersion, upon three dependent variables of mood, nature connectedness and heartrate. 51 participants were assigned to either guided or unguided nature immersion. Nature connectedness (Connectedness to Nature Scale, CNS), Environmental Identity Scale, EID short form) and mood (Positive and Negative Affect Scale, PANAS) were assessed before and after nature immersion, while heart rate was tracked continuously by a wristwatch heart rate tracker throughout the 2-h experience. Demographics and general health practice (GHP) information were also collected. A mixed model ANOVA revealed that nature connectedness and mood (but not heart rate) improved post-immersion for all participants. Comparing the guided/unguided conditions, there were no significant differences in the change in nature connectedness, mood or heart rate. Comparing within the five segments within the standard sequence in the guided condition, the third and fifth segments revealed a significantly lower heart rate compared to the baseline heart rate.

Item ID: 64117
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1660-4601
Keywords: forest therapy; nature immersion; nature connectedness; environmental identity; psychological benefits of nature
Copyright Information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Funders: LearnSG Seed Fund, JCU Singapore internal research grant
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2020 02:03
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 80%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420603 Health promotion @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 100%
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