We have always known the benefit of being outside. We have only walked metres up a track and exclaim “how good is this?!” We feel the benefit immediately. Interestingly there is an expanding and comprehensive body of research which is adding scientific weight to what we feel. But in these times of being locked in, locked down or even locked up, how do we derive the same or similar benefits from the ‘outdoors’?
Research out of the Australian National University and published in The Conversation provides an interesting answer. Cris Brack and Aini Jasmin Ghazali suggest we can improve our mood and mental wellbeing by experiencing the outdoors indoors, especially if we can’t take advantage of our urban nature – parks, nature strips, reserves, and so on. Two obvious solutions are posited – the use of indoor plants and looking at pictures of the outdoors.
Their “research has demonstrated that even a small number of plants hanging in pockets on along a busy corridor provide enough nature to influence our physiological and psychological perceptions.” Mental health is directly impacted by being around nature. Even if it is only a pot plant or two.
Perhaps more intriguing, their research shows that even photographs of animals and nature can have a positive mental impact. Perhaps that explains the appeal of Insta collections of wildlife. They recommend some ways to get engaged online with nature, whether that’s nature photo feeds or video feeds. Here is what they suggested. We have added a couple of our own. Of course Google will yield something that is to your specific tastes.
- Wildlife photographers such as Doug Gimesy, Frans Lanting and Tanya Stollznow.
- WA photographer Shelley Pearson if you admire birds - though there are some great landscapes in there too.
- The Bush Blitz citizen science app launched a new online tool. The species recovery program encourages children to explore their backyard to identify different species.
- Wild Wolves.
- “From the bottom of the sea direct to your screen”: watch this underwater live stream of Victoria’s rocky reef off Port Phillip Bay
- San Diego Zoo – lots of cams here, including Panda Cam.
- The Coastal Watch website offers live camera feeds on beaches around Australia.
- Are we There yet? A four hour trip in pastoral Australia.
- Careful, this one is very soothing running water, trees and occasional fauna in California’s Redwood Forest River.
- Zoos Victoria have some great live cams here
- Yellowstone National Park live cams
- Our very own Australian Geographic
- And of course we are always outdoors here