Influential Landscapes

Living in high-rise apartments, driving automobiles, and farming wind turbines, are relatively new experiences that humans have embraced, and it demonstrates that we are particularly good at adapting to a diverse range of landscapes. Environmental psychology, which may encompass eco-psychology and conservation psychology, explores the relationship between humans and the world, and how physical spaces and surroundings influence the way we feel, think, and interact within both natural and man-made situations. Researchers in the field investigate factors such as stressful designs in urban spaces that may influence human performance or even criminal behavior—we have innate preferences for rooms with a view, so to speak. Researchers are also interested in the therapeutic effects of nature and the outdoors on children and adults alike. Environmental psychologists often work with other professionals in the areas of environmental science, city planning, architecture, and landscape design.

The Eco Mind

Sitting in nature has many health benefits, most important is nature’s ability to relieve anxiety and improve mood. Researchers have discovered that walking in a city garden can lower a person’s anxiety levels to great effect. Plus, employees who work in offices that nurse indoor plants enjoy improved mood, and even mentally visualizing nature can likewise ease anxious feelings. And there is more to nature: The awe of a green forest can give a person perspective and readjust one’s view on what really matters in life—petty annoyances are just petty annoyances. 

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