The power of images and sounds in nature

Photo by Elle on Unsplash

Whenever I am outdoors, I notice my surroundings and the audio. So I’ve been interested in finding out more about what power, if any, images and sounds in nature have on overall well-being. Studies have found that nature’s playlist has positive benefits for well-being.

The benefit of nature sounds to physical and mental health are well-recorded. Studies have linked experiences in nature to having a positive impact on well-being. A decrease in mental stress, an improvement in cognitive performance, and high levels of creativity, as well as improved sleep. While images of nature also reduce anger, fear, stress, and increase positive feelings.

Visual stimulation
If you want to reignite the feeling of being amongst nature simply surround yourself with photographs and images of outdoor scenes.

The reason images of nature have a more positive effect than abstract imagery or artworks is evolutionary. We have a need to rapidly assess and process what is happening within a unique environment for survival. Images can also relieve mental fatigue as they distract and remove us from the current environment.

Bird and water sounds
Bird sounds help alleviate stress and annoyance. While water sounds enhance positive emotions like tranquillity, awareness, and relaxation. Researchers encourage people to find inspiration in the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” by visiting a national park or participating in sound walks designed to increase our appreciation of natural sounds.
Benefit from natural sounds mixed with manufactured noises

Research also suggests natural sounds mixed with manufactured noises can still benefit people. Natural sounds help camouflage unwanted noise, such as cars, trains, and planes.
Listening to natural sounds along with artificial noise is better for you than listening to only unnatural noises. That ocean sounds playlist you listen to every night to drown out the street noise might be doing wonders for your overall health.

Photo by Andrea Lightfoot on Unsplash

Go ahead and find out for yourself. Look at some breathtaking nature scenes on your computer screensaver, gaze at the flowers on your table, or display your favourite nature photos in your home or office. Unsplash has some incredible free images that could inspire you. Listen to some nature sounds of water running or birds singing and notice what difference it makes to how you feel!

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