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Food

For Body and Mind: Contact with Nature Makes People Love It Even More

Besides human health, globally the coronavirus has hit it both the economy and society. There are plenty of possible and different futures for the next day, generating the consensus that nothing will be the same again. On a societal basis, some changes are already here. People miss their family and friends and appreciate more the one thing that makes us human, being together as a group.

In Greece, calls between people are lasting longer, because now you have more time to discuss and elaborate your thoughts. Another great phenomenon that has emerged among Greeks in the age of coronavirus is the rise in the need to be outdoors. Now, malls and cafes are closed and people are spending more time outdoors. Parks, seashores, forests, and nature parks were so packed with people that authorities had to close them to avoid the spread of the virus. So, alternatively, people started jogging and going for long walks with their pets. The mon-essential needs of ‘shopping therapy’, were replaced by ‘nature connectedness’. Environmental psychologists confirmed their work in a pandemic context: contact with nature makes the people love it even more. Science has already proved that being in nature (even if it is just a park inside a city) is a basic need for people. Most people – over half globally, and approximately four in five Americans – live in urban areas, where nature contact is typically limited. Many psychological problems like anxiety or insomnia are linked with lack of nature contact. Nature connectedness helps you sleep better, reduce anxiety and depression, and increases happiness, well-being and, life satisfaction. It reduces ADHD symptoms, increases prosocial behavior, lowers blood pressure, improves child development (cognitive and motor), reduces obesity and diabetes, improves eyesight – and the list goes on. Maybe the most up to date news is information that it “improves the immune system.”

In some countries, ecotourism or nature activities are prescribed as medicine by the health care system, for many psychological problems. Isn’t it strange, now that we have more time for screen time, in Greece green spaces are packed with people? It is the inner need that was emerged from our wild ancestors’ instinct. E-learning in Greece started from day one of the pandemic. And now children do not want any other screen time. They want to see and play with their friends, in the schoolyard. This makes you wonder. Is this going to be the new reality? Over the past few decades children were ‘consumed’ by their screens and often developed addictive behaviors. Now, with the prohibition of contact, this is what they miss the most. Going outdoors. Will it be something they keep after the “staying safe home” measures, or it will be forgotten? Will nature contact be a basic need for us again after the pandemic?

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication.

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