Biophilia, a Natural High?
What is biophilia?
Biophilia means "love of life or living systems." It is a hypothesis that suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. The biophilia hypothesis was introduced by Edward O. Wilson who popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defines biophilia as: "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life."
What is biophilic design?
Biophilic design is the practice of incorporating nature into the built environment. This design concept incorporates things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features, and other elements for the purpose of creating a more productive and healthy built environment for a building's occupants.
Biophilia and mental health
Because of COVID-19, people are spending more than 95% of their time indoors. Therefore, it has become necessary for us to bring the outdoors in to create an indoor environment that references the great outdoors. Biophilic design is about bringing the outdoors inside.
The easiest way to embrace biophilic design is to introduce plants into your space. You may have noticed a surge in online plant shops and plant influencers. In urban areas, where demand for house plants is great, growers have almost become "essential workers."
Adding plants and other biophilic design elements to your interior space can improve people’s mental and physical well-being.
- A 2019 study in Denmark found that children under 10 who grow up with greener surroundings have up to 55 percent less risk of developing various mental disorders in adulthood compared to those who weren’t exposed to nature.
- A report from the International Society for Horticultural Science lists some of the following benefits of indoor plants: "physically, they contribute to a cleaner, healthier air for us to breathe, thus improving our well-being and comfort. They make our surroundings more pleasant, and they make us feel calmer."
- According to a 2010 publication by The National Libary of Medicine, people surrounded by plants (and nature) have lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure, and in some cases, raise levels of white blood cells.
- In a 2011 Environmental Psychology study 34 test participants performed the reading task. Some sat at a basic wooden desk with nothing around it. Others did the same task at a desk surrounded by office flowers and foliage. The results - while workers at the desk with plants improved their scores on the task the second time around; workers at the empty desk did not.
Get outside, or put a plant in it :)