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The Nature Fix

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The Nature Fix

Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

W.W. Norton,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Learn why a walk in the woods boosts your health, creativity and happiness. Yes, just a walk in the woods.

Editorial Rating



  • Scientific
  • Overview
  • Inspiring


Spending more time in nature is good for you in both direct and subtle ways. It lowers your stress level, improves your health, and boosts your creativity. Nature touches your sense of awe and your awareness of being part of something bigger than your daily life. You don’t have to dump your digital devices; you can find balance simply by getting outdoors. Outside magazine contributing editor Florence Williams’s message is that nature therapy – turning to nature to soothe and heal – needs public support to push government to fund programs and to urge the health care industry to endorse and underwrite the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors. She cites government programs in Finland, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Williams tells of her personal struggles to find health and harmony in today’s amped-up urban world. She reports on research and projects worth revisiting, though the book lacks an index to help you get back to the information. getAbstract recommends her compelling tale of how she came to understand how and why nature heals. She’ll make you want to take that hike.


A Prescription for Urban Ailments

The Japanese call it shinrin yoku – “forest bathing.” In Korean, it’s salim yok. The Finnish call it metsänpeitto – “covered by the forest.” Cultures around the world honor the human bond with nature. Study results show that nature positively affects people’s mental, spiritual and physical health. The empirical results come from psychological tests and physiological sensors that capture changes in brains and body functions outdoors. Scientists are becoming more precise and creative in finding out about nature’s impact. For example, if you’re hospitalized, request a bed by a window. It will help you recover faster.

Modern Stress

Recovery is a critical element in re-engaging with nature. Human beings are animals, and like all living things, they connect to nature and try to adapt to changes in their environments – successfully or not. Your senses provide vital cues to help you survive. Today, stressed-out office-dwellers often overlook the information that smells, sounds and sights offer. This obliviousness undermines their physical and mental performance...

About the Author

Outside magazine contributing editor Florence Williams won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology. Her first book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, was a New York Times Notable Book in 2012.

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