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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Essay on Impact of Landscape on Mental Health

Essay on Impact of Landscape on Mental Health

The impacts of landscapes on the mental health of people have been determined even during the ancient times, and they were demonstrated by various societies all over the world. The idea that looking at landscapes can help improve mental health through reducing stress was already proven in the early Chinese and Greek societies. In Europe, most of the early hospitals that were built had a beautiful garden to help the patients to immediately recover from their sickness and health problems.

A variety of theories and methods have been raised to provide explanations and evaluate the impacts of landscapes on the mental health of people. For example, there is the stress recovery theory which states that landscapes have the tendency to minimize stress, and so this in turn contributes towards a significant improvement in the mental health of the people (Velarde 200). There have already been many explanations that have emerged about how landscape can minimize the stress levels of people. For instance, there have been explanations which emphasize the capability of natural scenes and landscapes to address the biological needs of people which in turn help to reduce stress. Some explanations point out to the restorative impact of landscapes which help to minimize stress and improve the mental health of people, while others indicate that people simply have a strong relationship with nature and this relationship has a positive impact on the health of people. This is where the concept of healing gardens among hospitals emerged. Many hospitals have designed their rooms in such a way that the patients can look at colourful gardens and other beautiful landscapes through the windows while they are recovering from their sickness. Because the patients are able to constantly look at these beautiful landscapes, they are able to mentally relax and have a positive mindset towards recovery.

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Another theory that describes the impacts of landscapes on the mental health of people is the attention restoration theory. This theory provides details about the restorative impacts of natural environments on reducing the fatigue and stress being experienced by the mind on a regular basis. Restoration is related to experiencing a reinvigoration of the physical and mental capabilities of people which are being regularly reduced because of the need to address the challenges of their daily routines (Abraham 61). The attention restoration theory suggests that landscapes are perceived to be particularly effective in restoration because they normally have the essential components in attaining restoration.

Landscapes that provide restoration allow people to separate themselves temporarily from their everyday life. While people see or are in the presence of these landscapes, they are able to forget the problems and other challenges that they are facing in their lives and just cherish the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of their environment. People are able to be spared from stress while seeing these landscapes and they are also able to know more new things which they can match with the information that they already have in their environment. Because landscapes are always images of beauty and serenity, the people are able to find a way to meditate and think about themselves or other people who are close to them. They are able to have that clear mind to think about what they want to do in their lives and what changes they have to do to make sure that their lives can be better. Thus, because the people are able to improve their ability to concentrate and plan ahead while seeing beautiful landscapes, they are also able to experience an improvement in their mental health in the long run, something that is really helpful to the people as they face daily challenges.

Cited Works

Abraham, Andrea. 2010. “Landscape and well-being: a scoping study on the health-promoting impact of outdoor environments.” International Journal of Public Health, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 59–69

Velarde, MD. 2007. “Health effects of viewing landscapes – Landscape types in environmental psychology.” Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 199–212

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