Bring the outdoors inside to promote better living


A new study proves that nature makes people more caring.

If your veterinary facility sometimes seems more like a lifeless, bland building than a warm, inviting space, it's time to spruce things up. Step one: Go purchase some plants.

A new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin says that getting in touch with nature makes people feel and behave better. It's no secret that people are happier and healthier when they regularly experience nature-but the new study proves that the benefits extend to a person's actions and values.

In the study, researchers observed 370 participants who were exposed to either natural or man-made settings. Participants were asked to soak up their surroundings, observing colors and textures and imagining sounds and smells. They then answered questions about the importance of four life aspirations: wealth, fame, connectedness, and community.

People exposed to natural elements rated connectedness (close relationships with others) and community (working toward the betterment of society) higher than they did previously. Participants exposed to man-made elements tended to rate wealth and fame higher than they had.

In another study, researchers gave participants a $5 prize and the choice to keep or donate the money to another anonymous participant. The second participant could then keep the additional $5 or give it back. Again, people exposed to natural elements were more caring, and were more willing to share the money.

Lead author Netta Weinstein says the results highlight the need for more green spaces. So if your practice isn't blessed with picturesque views of the great outdoors, bring nature inside. You'll likely create a more caring and helpful team.

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