Get a virtual dose of nature from home - Planet Ark Environmental Foundation

Get a virtual dose of nature from home

    By Jennifer McMillan  September 9th, 2020

    Escape your home office with new window swapping website that allows you to travel from Egypt to San Francisco.

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    For many of us, being stuck at home is the new normal. The good news is there are plenty of ways to improve your well-being by connecting with nature without leaving the house.

    Recent research we conducted for National Tree Day shows just 10 minutes relaxing outside is enough to significantly reduce blood pressure. We also know that nature induces positive feelings through physiological mechanisms, including activating the brain’s dopamine reward system. But can we get similar benefits from simply taking in a view of nature?

    The answer is yes, according to research which suggests that a room with a view of nature supports cognitive restoration better than a view of concrete.

    A study that looked at people living in an apartment blocks supports the premise that having natural elements in the view from a window contributes substantially to residents’ satisfaction and sense of well-being.

    For those of us who don’t live with a view overlooking the ocean or fields of green, you can now travel the world with Window Swap — a website that allows you to open a window anywhere in the world. Peak through windows into a green patio in Egypt, watch a cat observe the street from an apartment in San Francisco, listen to classical music in Turkey or relax to the sound of rain in Germany.

    The word ‘sonder’ has been cited as "the feeling you get when realising everyone around you has a rich and complex life just as you do”, Window Swap offers an opportunity to take a look at the views of people around the world.

    Taking the time to notice nature and the small things, whether it be gazing out your window or seeing a new leaf sprout on your plant, can help us through stressful times.

    Isolation has highlighted just how much we rely on nature and having access to it. Window Swap is not as good as the real thing but it’s a creative way to escape your home office, even just for a minute.

    Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 

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    Jennifer McMillan

    Jennifer joined the Planet Ark team to support the 2018 National Tree Day campaign. With a degree in Environmental Science and Master's in Journalism, she is passionate about science communication with a focus on multimedia storytelling. Prior to joining the Planet Ark team she travelled to Jordan as a foreign correspondent. She works as a vet nurse in her spare time.

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