Nature and human beings
We human beings have always had a very close interaction with nature right from the when early man spent most of his time outdoors as he hunted for food provided by nature and generally living close to nature. In fact everything in life was interconnected with nature in the beginning of human life which slowly began to change as civilization progressed.
Further with urbanization and modern technology things began to change and today most people in the urban areas spend much of their time in offices, or when they are home, they are either in front of the TV or the computer - spending probably no more than an hour a day outside, either walking or out on errands, some spend even less time than that.
I have heard of people not knowing whether it is a full moon night or a new moon night , they have no time nor the inclination to look up at the sky and enjoy the beauty of nature. Life is so filled with stress and work leaving very little time for any pleasurable activities like quietly enjoying nature.
How it affects our state of mind
You may have noticed how we crave for nature when we are depressed or feeling out of sorts. The optimism and pleasure that we get from nature, from the sounds of birds, from wind and water can never be compared to any other experience in life . To quote an example - One of my friends who had undergone a major surgery and needed a long bed rest after that, felt her spirits improve the moment she left the metro city and went to live with her parents in her ancestral home in the village where she spent happy and peaceful days lying down on the open verandah gazing at the tall coconut palms growing around the house, the blue sky and colorful hibiscus , jasmine and other flowers growing in the garden. She also got the chance to bond with her loved ones amidst the splendor of nature.
It is not just sick people who benefit when fresh sights and scents come indoors. The average person passes his/her days either driving on crowded roads or travelling on local transport , sitting at a desk most of the time in a sealed office room. The only contact one gets to do is probably go for a short walk during lunch time.
With such packed schedules forcing us to spend most of our time in artificial environments , that cannot be changed, its more important than ever that our home be a place of respite. With space being premium in most cities, many of these offices and homes get very little light and air.
Making some changes in our life style has its advantages
Being cut off from sunlight has its own disadvantages. People who rarely see sun are prone to winter depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder. They also lack, energy, drive and crave for sleep all the time. Just making some minor adjustments in their life styles by spending some time outdoors can make a lot of difference buoying their spirits back to normal. We see this change happening even with babies. A very cranky child can easily be diverted when it is taken out to a park or simply to the balcony or the garden from where the bay is able to look up to the sky ,plants and birds..
Most architects agree that having plenty of natural light is an important aspect to consider while designing a home. One can make some minor changes and still manage to fulfill this essential need ..Bring in more light
If you have small windows and not have sufficient light in the room you can knock a hole in the wall and make a new skylight or a window and it can do wonders for your room. One should make it a point of keeping the windows open all though the day drawing the curtains and tying them up so that there is fresh air and light coming into the room. If you want to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects you can cover the windows with a mesh which does not block fresh air.Changing the view helps
Environmental psychologists are of the opinion that most sick people tend to recover quickly when they were able to gaze out of their window at the sky ,trees, grass, flowers and birds flying rather than look at the walls ..By viewing nature and the natural world people can bring down their blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension , all in a matter of 10 minutes. Clearing the Air
Asthma and allergy related ailments are ever increasing mainly due to dust , pollution and also because of people spending most of their time indoors thereby remaining trapped in with smoke, home dust and mould. The only way to overcome this is to take care - not burn plastic or colored paper or painted wood inside your home , since they can release poisonous pollutants.
Keep carpets, heavy drapes and rich upholstery to the bare minimum since all these trap dust. They need to be thoroughly cleaned and shaken regularly, also vacuum cleaned often. It also helps to install a smoke detector in your home. Having either a floral arrangement or an inexpensive arrangement with some attractive foliage and easily available wild flowers helps in bringing in freshness .Dabbing a drop of essential oil onto a light bulb before turning it on and the aroma will float through your homeCreating a Peaceful corner
We cannot make our entire home stress - free since we need to accommodate all kinds of activities, but one needs to have a space within your home where you can simply experience peace and tranquility and bring forth what you are and what you might be ..Setting aside such a space makes it easier to incorporate yoga, meditation or exercise routines or simply sit with a book and relax for a while. If and when you have such a corner , it may be in the balcony or any place which is not used for daily activities , you will find it easier to have some solitude.
The space can be a corner in the balcony that has been partly covered to make it private or a basement room that has been neglected, add a plant or two or a small bowl with a fish to make it pleasant , a comfortable chair and if you have the space and the facility to do so install a small book shelf on the wall to keep a few books and reading material , a mat on the floor for those interested in practicing yoga or meditation.