Yale doctor encourages exposure to nature for mental well-being and healing

Yale doctor encourages exposure to nature for mental well-being and healing

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Nature is not only beautiful, but it can actually have a healing effect, according to Dr. Gary Sofer.

“Keep using what has kept people healthy for thousands of years,” he said. “Being outdoors, being connected to nature, these are really powerful things that allow us to improve ourselves.”

He works with patients at Yale New Haven Health’s Smilow Cancer Hospital and encourages them to visit the facility’s healing garden to connect with nature.

Soffer cites studies comparing hospital patients in rooms with different views, either of a parking lot or of trees and gardens.

“Patients who faced trees and gardens were discharged earlier, they needed less painkillers,” he said.

He said people with pandemic depression and addiction to screens and TVs can take the time to do what has kept people healthy for thousands of years.

“For a patient who stays home all day and watches TV, it takes maybe about ten minutes of walking to get by,” he said.

Positive effects can also come from indoor plants. An NIH study of young adults using computers showed reduced psychological stress when exposed to plants.

Experts said the plants promote comfortable, soothing, and natural feelings.

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