When we go to stay somewhere wild, it is not just the enchanting, curious and quirky dwellings that we go for. We go because these are beautiful spaces nested within beautiful places, man-made lodgings in nature-made havens. We go because when we stay somewhere wild, we get up close and personal with both the absolute best of thoughtful human design – which helps us disconnect, unwind and relax – and with nature’s intrinsic restorative and healing benefits.
Luckily for us – or, perhaps more accurately, as a function of our innate evolutionary connection to the rest of nature – the benefit of time spent in and around the great outdoors can be felt with little effort or exertion on our part.
You might choose to sit outside quietly, go for an aimless wander, or close your eyes and listen to the sounds of wildlife and weather. Some of my most memorable and uplifting times outside have been when I have done nothing more than observe the beauty around me, felt my own glorious smallness, and enjoyed simply being. While there will be additional gains taken from a concerted effort to be outside doing immersive activities, the research is clear that we can experience the physical and mental health benefits of natural places even by viewing them through a well-placed window.
Although many of us intuitively know the power of time spent outside, the empirical study of nature’s healing potential is still relatively new. But one well-documented area of analysis is the impact of forest bathi