Let Nature Bring You “Home”

 by Robin Bush, ISR Communications

“Home” connotes the deep and essential, the timeless and the natural.

The American Heritage Dictionary’s definitions of “home” include not only the location where one lives but also an environment offering security and happiness, a valued place regarded as a refuge. It is further defined as “the place where something is discovered, founded, developed, or promoted;” it is “the source… the center… and the heart.”    

In our technologically advanced world, there is a profound need for authentic connection with each other and the natural world we share.  The web of life teaches us we are all connected to every other living being and that every action creates reactions that circumnavigate the globe, yet in our daily lives, those connections are all too often compromised.  In our dis-“connected” megabyte world, we long for a place where we feel at home.

We all have an innate connection to nature, called “biophilia,” which is vital to maintaining physical and mental health. To support our need for natural connection, it is important to consider how bringing natural materials, patterns, light, and colors into our homes can help us feel more at home and to understand the benefits to our mental and physical health.

Think about some of what we know about nature:

  • colors influence the behavior and relationships of plants and animals;
  • changing light is the metronome for natural rhythms;
  • theme and variation abound – forms repeat, not as duplicates, but as closely related entities;
  • similarities of patterns at various scales exist universally – the same designs at the molecular level are repeated on a grand scale throughout the heavens, light years away;
  • shapes and forms are flowing, avoiding straight lines, edges, and sharp angles (a response to the pressures of natural forces);
  • plant and animal species that integrate best with the natural systems around them thrive.

When we walk into an interior that makes us feel “at home,” we enter a space that uniquely inspires innovation, cultivates creativity, and universally forms connection.

Because we spend most of our time indoors, introducing natural elements of light, color, and sound into our surroundings can reduce stress and its adverse effects on health. This doesn’t mean you need to re-design your home or spend a lot of money. Move your chair closer to the window so you get more light. Find a colorful throw at the thrift store and spread it across your couch. Display things you find on a walk and touch them every day. Even photos or paintings of nature can help. Tell your friends that you’d appreciate the gift of indoor plants for your birthday or a holiday. Leafy greens improve air quality by increasing the oxygen level in a room. They regulate humidity and act as natural air purifiers. They actually create fresh air. Sound is an important aspect as well. You might add a small water fountain or play natural sound recordings of birds. Or, when the weather is pleasant, simply open your windows.

With just a few changes, you will feel more “at home” in your home if you bring nature indoors. It’s subtle, but when you do, you will find your home feels more restful, peaceful, and healing, and you will feel more connected to the natural world.