A stroll by the beach on a sunny morning or a quiet walk around the countryside has the power to awaken feelings of tranquility and happiness inside us. Many times, during stressful situations, we wish to travel to a peaceful, natural landscape. Deep down, we know human beings have a strong connection with nature. And we know that strengthening that link has a positive impact on our well-being. In times of lockdown and social distancing rules, connecting with nature can be challenging. Yet, there are many ways to do this, including listening to nature sounds.
There is a rich and complex history between human beings and the natural world. Our affinity for natural beauty has long been captured in paintings, poetry, stories, films, architecture, and much more. Environmental psychologist Stephen Kaplan proposed that our preference for natural scenes has an evolutionary basis; our attentional resources were linked to cues within the natural environment to enhance our survival. Therefore, it’s safe to say that we’ve always been attracted to nature in some way or another.
When on vacation, most people will prefer a balcony or terrace with a natural view. Others feel a greater sense of harmony in a house full of plants. And some simply feel vitalized when listening to the beautiful melodies of singing birds and other nature sounds in the early morning. And, while science is still gathering evidence of how the connection between nature and mental health is possible, intuitively we know it to be the case.
The link between nature and well-being
Human beings’ connection with nature is the main focus of environmental psychology. This emerging field seeks to understand how and why the environment influences our behavior and well-being.
Although the field was officially established in 2009, its roots reach far back. According to experts Christopher Spencer and Kate Gee, it started in 1272, when Marco Polo was traveling through West Asia, he noticed that the people of Kerman were humble, helpful, and peaceable. On the other hand, their immediate neighbors in Persia were the complete opposite. The king of Kerman investigated this further and ordered quantities of soil to be brought from Persia. He sprinkled it on the floors of his banqueting hall. The monarch observed that his guests ‘began offending one another with words and deeds, and wounding one another mortally’. The king declared that the answer lay in the soil.
This experiment gave birth to the question at the heart of environmental psychology: how does our natural environment influence us? Through several studies, the field has concluded that nature can help us gain focus, manage stress, and balance our emotions. Let’s have a closer look at these three benefits below:
1. Greater focus
Nature has the power to capture our attention with its mesmerizing sounds and visuals. In The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan discuss how the simple act of watching the clouds flow or the leaves moving can make us more observant and attentive.
Nature possesses “soft fascinations” that help to restore attention when we lose focus. These soft fascinations are soothing, natural elements such as flowers, sunshine, or even a gentle breeze. We are so attracted to these pleasant aspects of nature that we don’t have to make an effort to focus on them. Rather, we effortlessly bathe ourselves in the experience.
The resulting feelings of pleasure and inner happiness make those who spend more time in nature observant and intuitive. This is the path to mindfulness. And, when you are mindful, you successfully handle everyday challenges, finding joy and balance in the most uncertain times.
2. Stress management
The demands of your work and personal struggles may stress you out to a point where you remain stuck in negative experiences. So, to unwind, you decide to visit the park and sit in the grass or on a bench for a few minutes. As soon as you focus on the sun rays on your skin or the wind against your hair, you begin to feel a little better.
According to recent studies, feeling calm and at ease with nature is more common than you think. Data shows that taking at least 20 minutes to stroll or sit in a place that makes you feel in touch with nature can significantly lower your stress levels. A large-scale study involving 120 participants looked at “nature-connection” and stress management. Each participant observed images of natural landscapes and urban environments. The participants who looked at the natural settings got lower scores on stress scales and also had better heartbeat and pulse counts compared to those who looked at urban visuals.
3. Emotional balance
Emotions are a fundamental part of our lives as they shape and direct our actions. In other words, managing emotions helps us to respond and appropriately deal with the demands of daily life. Research supports this idea by stating that our ability to regulate our emotions is crucial to our well-being. In recent years, for instance, there has been a great interest in the practice of forest bathing.
According to a 2016 study, taking trips into the forest is excellent for emotional regulation and optimal well-being. Some of the study’s participants found their time in the woods very calming. This activated the system associated with joy (parasympathetic nervous system). On the other hand, the participants who spent time in urban settings activated the system associated with anxiety (the sympathetic nervous system). Of course, some participants felt threatened whilst in the woodland, feeling anxious about what could lie there. By contrast, those more in tune with nature felt joy by observing the beauty of their surroundings.
How to strengthen our connection with nature
We are part of nature. We carry nature inside ourselves wherever we are. Even when indoors, away from beautiful trees, singing birds, and high mountains, we can still enjoy nature. Synctuition helps you harness the power of your mind to strengthen this meaningful connection. Here’s how:
Visualizing nature through sound
If you can’t go outside, go inside. Human beings have been blessed with the gift of imagination. This wonderful gift has helped us to visualize and create some of the world’s greatest inventions. At the moment, you may be limited to your house or apartment. Yet, the world inside you is vast and waiting for you to explore it. When you visualize, your imagination works at its greatest potential, creating powerful images or sounds.
Of course, visualization doesn’t come easily for everybody. You might need an extra push to work it out. Luckily, Synctuition is here to help. Our program consists of 120 mesmerizing sound journeys recorded in 2000 natural locations across the world.
Each journey incorporates 3D and ASMR natural sounds. Our team of sound engineers worked tirelessly to capture these sounds in their natural environments without any synthetic components. Synctuition presents them to the listener with correct timing and spectral difference, just as they happen in real life. Thereby, by listening to Synctuition, your brain reacts as if the audio is coming live from nature.
The natural magic of Synctuition
The authentic and soothing nature sounds captured in Synctuition will radically transform your mental state. As you close your eyes and listen, Synctuition’s audio journeys transport you to a pristine beach or forest, away from all the noise and hassle of urban life. This incredible realm of peace and beauty feels just like a lucid dream, powered by your imagination.
In this relaxing environment, your mind remains focused on the delightful sounds of singing birds, waves gently crashing against the sand, and the breeze rustling through the trees. These mesmerizing sounds strengthen your inner connection with the natural world, helping you to cope with stressful thoughts, focus on what truly matters, and find emotional balance.
Through thousands of reviews, our listeners have shared their meaningful encounters with the natural world. After listening to our Catching the Wave journey, Leanne H. wrote, “Amazing! My imagination went wild with beautiful and vivid visions of the ocean and a sunny sky and catching my first wave and nailing.”
Experience the power of nature from the comfort of your home
You can strengthen your connection with nature regardless of where you are. Synctuition makes this possible through audio journeys with 3D nature sounds. As you listen, your mind will visualize a natural landscape where you will be able to unwind, focus on what truly matters, and let all kinds of positive emotions flow within you. It’s time to harness the power of nature to boost your well-being!