Book Review: The Nature Fix by Florence Williams (2018)
The Nature Fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative.
By Florence Williams
I really enjoyed this book. I am obviously a little biased as this is my area of interest, but I think it is written in a really accessible and interesting way. The author, Florence Williams, has gone out into the world to walk and work alongside those who are trying to figure out the science behind why we feel so damn good when we connect with nature and what that can mean for city building, future generations, medical treatments, our day-to-day contentment and beyond. Covering a wide range of locations, experiments and insights into the way that nature influences our brains, the science is put across in a way that is easy to understand but doesn’t feel like a dumbed down version of the truth. It certainly makes you want to go on a good old yomp around the countryside – possibly not the best reading choice for during a lockdown, but there you are.
From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California. Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas – and the answers they yield – are more urgent than ever.
This blog was originally written for Small World, Big Cause in 2020, but has been edited for release on The Curious Environmentalist. Enjoy.
I like to read before bed, so this sort of book can be a godsend or an insomniacs worst nightmare, and like most good reads it proved to be a little bit of both.
Some chapters I would read and be eased to sleep by the thoughts woodland walks and be calmed by the sounds of the sea (albeit from my phone) like generations of humans have before me. Some nights however, I would lay awake thinking of ways to utilise nature better, cursing my job and the modern lifestyle which inevitable has made us more of an indoor, sedentary species. However, Florence Williams knows that there is a balance to be had, we can embrace modern life without losing our connection to the outdoors and our pull towards mother nature.
This book really clarified a few things for me; why I feel on edge in certain places, why certain things help me relax, what I should make time for in my daily life. It is a read I would whole-heartedly recommend to anyone. Whether or not you class yourself as ‘outdoor-sy’ – it will definitely make you think about how you interact with the natural world and how you can make your living situation the best it can be to help your mental wellbeing stay positive and creative…
…you really have nothing to lose by giving it a read.
Not only an interesting read, and a great insight into the scientific and psychological work that is going on around the globe, but also a handbook for finding the activities or parts of nature that make you tick.
Find your happy place and the rest will come naturally, it’s literally in our biology.
So, as we rush around in our hectic, busy, modern lives, take some time to learn more about the world around you. Maybe read this book on your commute, which is always slightly longer than you’d like. Or use your lunch break to take a stroll or sit in your local park and soak in the healthy green-ness of it all. Or even just make your overcrowded flat a little more connected to the outside world through plants and images that make you happy.
There is so much you can do to brighten your day just a little.
This book highlights the science behind what we all know is true:
Nature is fantastic.
It is a wonder, it inspires us, it calms us, and it gave us the space and the conditions for life. Let’s not forget that beautiful sunsets and vast green forests are more than just a great photo for Instagram and start remembering that the earth is part of who we are.
We inhabit a beautiful place and our lives can match that beauty, but we have to embrace the natural world, embrace what it gives us and stop working against it.
Written by Rebecca Hansell.
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