Nature as medicine – How greenery supports our health

Recover faster from burnout

Wildlife educator Dirk Schroeder was a travel journalist who spent a lot of time with indigenous peoples. He conveys this knowledge, experience of nature, respect for people, caring attitude towards each other in his courses. He says that being able to survive in the wild gives a sense of security. Especially when people feel that they are overwhelmed: “Nature immediately brings them to the center, to relaxation, and this is our intention.” Over the years, Dirk Schroeder has had many burnout course participants. Experiencing nature has helped some regain physical and mental strength.

Urban trees prevent depression

Not a random trip to the countryside, but nature in the everyday environment also has a therapeutic or at least preventive effect: everyone who has a tree in front of the window or at least 100 meters away from it, feels significantly less stressed. This is confirmed by the research of Leipzig and Jena universities.

On the contrary, the researchers found that antidepressants are more often prescribed on less green streets. People with lower incomes live here. So you are doubly disadvantaged. According to researchers, street trees can reduce the risk of mental illness.

Therefore, the everyday greenery that city dwellers encounter on their daily commute is much more important for mental balance than a tree in the nearest park or on a walk in the woods.

Bavaria’s only municipal tree manager

The task of Bavaria’s only municipal tree manager is even more important: Petra Wang plants and protects trees in the city of Nuremberg. Finding places for new trees is extremely difficult. Hard-won parking spaces would have to be sacrificed, and trees cannot be planted over gas and water lines or underground parking lots. They are cut down for new construction projects, as well as when the roots lift the asphalt.

However, says Petra Van, the rethinking has already taken place. Today we know how important trees are for cooling the environment, with trees with large crowns possible up to three degrees. Due to the increased drought in the city, trees are also being watered more often.

Urban trees for social interaction

As in other Bavarian cities, the city of Nuremberg sponsors trees. There are already more than 100 of them. Not only the tree benefits, but also the godfathers and the neighborhood themselves, says godfather Andreas Schiebel: “As soon as you plant it, you start talking to the neighborhood.” And for Kathy Snow, tending to trees is a quick break in between. She works a lot at the computer: “I’m a little more relaxed, even if it’s just a small piece of greenery. I feel like it’s mine,” says the Nuremberg native, kneeling on the sidewalk in front of two square meters of nature. .

A bird feeder in a nursing home

Fortunately, birds are very willing to share life with people. A simple bird feeder in the garden or on the balcony is enough for sedentary people to experience a piece of nature. Kathryn Lichtenauer of the State Bird Protection Association LBV feels how grateful people are when she visits nursing homes. Bird watching improves the quality of life in nursing homes and also increases people’s cognitive resources to mentally engage with what they see, she says.

Conscious employment increases the quality of life

A scientific group from the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt confirms this observation: more than 2,000 elderly people indicated in questionnaires how useful they find watching birds at home. According to the researchers, the study supports the assumption that closeness to nature is genetically predisposed to humans.

Scientist Patricia Ziris puts it this way: “We feel good when we have contact with nature, and when we lack this contact, then our well-being deteriorates. And watching birds is a way to indirectly reconnect with nature, with the living things that surround us.”

Recognize birds using stuffed animals

Conscious activity while observing birds in a nursing home is also important for therapeutic effect. LBV employee Lichtenauer has a whole suitcase of stuffed animals with her: a thrush, a goldfinch, a finch, all singing at the push of a button. When they actually land on the bird station, the joy is doubled when you recognize them. The resident of the house Kaspar Führmann knows them all from his youth and whistles along with the thrush.

LBV has already installed a bird-watching station in 141 retirement and elderly homes in Bavaria, with 75 more to be added this year.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *