Ecopsychology: rediscovering well-being in nature

    Ecopsychology: rediscovering well-being in nature

    Discover ecopsychology: a bridge between mind and nature. An innovative discipline that revolutionises the perspective on human beings and the environment, influencing education, work and physical and emotional well-being. Learn more about its history and applications in this article.

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    03/10/2023Of Elena Fraccaro
    03/10/2023Of Elena Fraccaro

    What is Ecopsychology

    The ecopsychology is a discipline that unites ecology and psychology, offering an innovative perspective on human beings and the world around them. This discipline aims to transform our traditionally 'anthropocentric view," in which man is at the centre of the universe, into an 'ecocentric perspective," in which the connection between the human being and the natural environment is fundamental. Ecopsychology not only examines the human mind and behaviour, but also studies the mutual influence between human beings and their environment. In particular, it focuses on how the need for a deeper connection with oneself is intrinsically linked to the need to establish an authentic connection with nature. It also reminds us that the environment has a significant impact on our quality of life, our mental health and our well-being.


    Ecopsychology: origin and diffusion

    ecopsychology was born as a discipline in Berkeley, California, in 1989. Its aim, from the outset, was to unify under one name various strands of work that already existed but were known by different names, such as 'green psychology', 'transpersonal ecology', and 'eco-therapy'. This unification would give birth to an interdisciplinary discipline that would become known as "ecopsychology." Today, ecopsychology is widespread in Anglo-Saxon speaking countries, such as the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Its growing popularity is supported by international networks such as the ICE (International Community of Ecopsychology) and the IES (International Ecopsychology Society), which have representations in several nations, including Italy, Greece, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Australia, and South Africa.

    origine ecopsicologia

    Ecopsychology in education

    ecopsychology emphasises that nature should not only be an object of study, but a co-star in education. This innovative approach proposes guidelines for a education that integrates nature into its structure and content. It is based on Environmental Psychology studies that demonstrate the benefits of direct contact with natural, undomesticated environments. Ecopsychology applies the principles of Ecology to education, emphasising interdependence, cyclicity, flexibility and biodiversity. It promotes ecological relationships based on attention, listening, respect and empathy, which are fundamental to living in harmony with the world. This approach awakens our innate Biophilia, the sense of belonging and co-responsibility towards the planet.

    ecopsicologia educazione

    The impact of ecopsychology in the world of work

    The world of work is also taking ecopsychology into consideration. More and more companies, in fact, are recognising the need for a sustainable work environment, not only environmentally, but also relationally. Gretchen Daily, director of the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, together with her research group, has shown that the cognitive and emotional benefits of connecting with nature should be integrated into current economic and organisational models. Ecopsychology is thus positively influencing the way companies conceive of the work environment, promoting employee well-being and corporate sustainability.

    ecopsicologia lavoro

    Well-being in buildings: WELL certification

    Wellbeing, both physical and mental, is increasingly important today. In this context emerges the WELL certification, focused on improving wellbeing and health within built environments. This certification covers various aspects, including air quality, lighting, fitness, nutrition and stress management, with the aim of creating spaces that promote physical and mental well-being. The link between ecopsychology and WELL certification lies in the fact that both recognise the importance of the environment around us for human well-being. A WELL-certified building, for example, may incorporate design elements that allow for a greater connection with nature, such as the use of natural light, indoor plants and green spaces. These elements also contribute to the psychological well-being of occupants. WELL design also promotes ecological and sustainable practices, thus contributing to the conservation of the natural environment.

    certificazione WELL edifici

    Benefits of connecting with nature

    Getting in touch with nature is not only a pleasant experience, but also has documented beneficial health effects. Studies show that this connection improves the nervous system, strengthens the immune system and increases self-esteem. It also reduces anxiety and improves mood, contributing to lower levels of aggression. Nature can even accelerate the healing process. For example, a study by White and colleagues found that patients in natural environments show faster healing rates. These data show that physical and emotional well-being is closely linked to our relationship with nature. Ecopsychology also encourages the combined use of Mindfulness and Wilderness to expand the worldview. This perspective is part of the 7 knowledge for the education of the future, including Earth Identity, which reminds us that we are citizens of the Planet and that our health is linked to that of the world around us.

    benefici natura

    Realising ecopsychology with a regenerative project

    ecopsychology teaches us that interaction with nature can improve people's mental well-being and emotional well-being. A concrete example of how ecopsychology translates into action is the project "Biodiversity Adventure" realised by 3Bee with the Casa di Riposo Noventa Padovana. Thanks to this project, the elderly residents have the opportunity to connect with nature through the construction of wild bee houses, which will provide them with new habitats, and the active participation in the stage educational course Biodiversity Adventure. This interaction with nature can have a positive impact on their well-being, promoting serenity and a sense of community.

    casette api solitarie casa di riposo

    Preserving nature and promoting social inclusion

    ecopsychology considers the connection between people and their social environment to be important. In the project, elders and younger members of the community work together to create esg/rifugi-aziendali/" target="_blank">refuges for pollinators. This promotes social inclusion through an intergenerational connection: the knowledge and experiences of the elderly represent a valuable legacy to be shared with future generations. This inter-age connection contributes to building a more cohesive and supportive community. Finally, ecopsychology highlights the importance of preserving biodiversity for human well-being. The project "Biodiversity Adventure" focuses on creating habitats for wild pollinators, thus contributing to the conservation of local biodiversity. Protecting nature is everyone's responsibility and even small gestures, such as building bee shelters, can have a significant impact on biodiversity.

    progetto 3Bee casa di riposo noventa di piave
    03/10/2023Of Elena Fraccaro
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