Psychological Benefits Of Increased Exposure

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Lori L. Francis PSYC 2314: LIFESPAN: Human Development Instructor: Laura Renee, Wednesday 11:30 am -1:00 pm Go Play Outside! The psychological benefits of increased interaction with the natural world Go Play Outside! The psychological benefits of increased exposure to the natural world In the past few decades, there has been a dramatic change in the relationship between people and the outdoors. Due to a number of factors, such as, increasing urbanization and loss of access to natural areas; parental fears of strangers, traffic, and even nature itself; competition from other activities such as homework, TV, time on the computer, or playing video games; people are spending an increasing amount of time indoors. Yet there is a growing amount of evidence demonstrating a variety of positive mental, social, and physical health benefits associated with increased exposure to the natural world. From a psychological perspective, there are clear developmental, cognitive, and therapeutic benefits when children and adults experience more nature in their day-to-day lives. I first became interested in this topic a few years ago years ago when I read "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder" by Richard Louv. As a volunteer at the Houston Arboretum and Nature center, I frequently encountered children who obviously had very little exposure to nature. Not only did they not know much about the natural world, some were fearful of
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