Exploring the Benefits of Nature: A Mindfulness Approach

Date

2023

Authors

Martinez, Anthony

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Abstract

The benefits of nature are often attributed to an ability to promote restorativeness and reduce stress. While these theories can explain why nature exposure benefits individuals, the theories do not explain how these effects are triggered. This study explores whether mindfulness plays a role in contributing to the benefits of nature. Participants included 153 students recruited from the University of Texas San Antonio SONA pool. The participants participated in a randomized, controlled laboratory experiment that investigated the effects of three conditions- nature exposure, mindfulness meditation, and an attention control condition, to produce levels of mindfulness states. The influence of the three conditions on relationships between mindfulness states, attention restoration, stress reduction, restorativeness and decentering were also investigated. Results revealed no significant differences in mindfulness states among the intervention groups. Analysis of the entire sample indicated that higher decentering levels correlated with greater mindfulness, reduced stress, and increased positive emotions. Greater restorativeness correlated with reduced stress, increased positive emotions, and improved attention. Exploratory analyses indicated that ethnicity appears to influence the relationship between exposure conditions and levels of mindfulness states following mindfulness meditation exposure. Exploratory findings suggest ethnic differences in the relationship between mindfulness meditation and mindfulness state levels, emphasizing the need for further study on mindfulness outcomes for Hispanic populations. In addition, it is important that future studies ensure that participants have sufficient nature exposure in the design of the study.

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Keywords

Decentering, Mindfulness Meditation, Nature Exposure, Restortativeness

Citation

Department

Psychology