lunes, 27 de octubre de 2014

Nature, altruism and well-being.

Nature means life. Nature means death. The start and ending point of a circle are the closest limits to existence and non-existence. Maybe, that is why parks are filled with kids and elderly. Industrial revolution separated us from our roots. We stopped living among the leaves of grass to die in cities of glass. Nature helps us to start remembering, and force us to stop forgetting. At least that is how things used to be. The development of technology has blindly guide us to the vacuity of an apple store seeking futilely for some unpolluted air.

Speculations aside, in the present text you will encounter an evidence supported reasoning about how being in the nature for a while increases your well-being (happiness). It is not just about breathing some fresh air.

In 2014, Gueguen & Stefan demonstrated that having a walk in the city park increased the possibilities of behaving altruistically. They registered the amount of people who were willing to help an unknown citizen before and after entering to the park. People who were leaving this natural area were significantly more prone to accomplish prosocial behaviors than those who were leaving the streets.  The stifled pedestrians, urging for oxygen, could not detent to help the passers-by. On the other hand, the relief that the helpers, the “green altruists”, had had was the spark of solidarity.  

Additionally, Seligman (2012) explain us in Flourish (curious metaphor, isn’t it?) the fastest and most efficient way of increasing our well-being: a single altruistic deed to a random person. Interesting also knowing that happy people is more prone to behave pro socially than depressed ones. (Seligman, 2004)

Therefore, a proved mechanism of how nature can make us happier (increase our well-being) is throughout the promotion of altruism.

Not just escaping the imperfection of perfection, but also admiring and contemplating the perfection of imperfection can help us to focus and enjoy the only moment of release that our ephemeral condition bestows us.

Just in silence, our animal nature can listen the eternal sounds of those who founded themselves (Siddharthas):
Once within the cycle of life and death, we are and we are not part of the whole.


              Gueguen, N., & Stefan, J. (2014). “Green Altruism”: Short Immersion in Natural Green Environments and Helping Behavior. Environment and Behavior. doi:10.1177/0013916514536576
               Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment (Edición: 1st Free Press Trade Pbk. Ed.). New York: Simon + Schuster Inc.
               Seligman, M. E. P. (2012). Flourish / Martin Seligman. North Sydney, N.S.W: William Heinemann Australia.

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