Link between nature, health and cognitive function

Hi There, I just discovered this community and i think you might be my people!

Recently, I went alone, without technology (OK - i had a GPS phone for emergencies) for a 6-day hike - and it completely reinvigorated me, completely reset my mindset. So I started to look into the link between spending time in nature and health and the science is starting to build a strong case. My hypothesis is that when we have an active connection with nature, we make better decisions about how we interact with technology and how we spend our time.

I’d long held the view that technology was designed to remove us from nature - and for our next phase of human growth, that it must be designed to bring us closer to our nature.

Other than improvements to technology design principles, what practical technologies do you know of that might create the environment of nature without our workplaces or homes - I’m thinking things like ultrasonic essential oil defusers as an example. Are there any other innovations in this space?

1 Like

Hi, Julian! Thank you for putting forward such an important topic. We’re on the edge of a post-digital revolution, and more people will start looking for more rational ways of integrating technology into our lives. Some industry players already noticed this new trend. Philips, for example, has this interesting alarm clock:

I am also new to the community and feel the same way (these are certainly my people!)

I am educated as an anthropologist, but have worked professionally in technology for 16+ years (focused mostly in cybersecurity and incident response).

I don’t know if I would characterize technology as designed to remove us from nature; perhaps I would characterize it more as designed to make us better at adapting to nature. I certainly agree that we need to look at ways to help us better connect, and I think it starts with people like us.

One of the simplest technologies that helps bring nature into the home and workplace that I can think of are therapy lamps. I’m sure the market for these has manipulated the purpose, but according to the Mayo Clinic, “Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions.”

I tend to see them as a “cure all” for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I haven’t done much research on the topic to be educated enough to know if the mass marketed ones are effective or not.