I am in love with trees and I am definitely not immune when it comes to hugging one.

It might not seem rational, yet when I get close to these beautiful and quiet swaying giants; I truly believe they are my family. I feel like they are our ancient grandparents, or compassionate witnesses when it comes to time and history. Not every person I know feels so passionate about the way that I do, yet there are a few reasons why they should. While the act of spending time in nature results in enhanced creativity, improved health, and in some cases kindness, there is something magical about spending time among trees.

 

The Tarkine, TAS

Trees make us more creative.

Spending time in nature helps to inspire creativity. One of the studies conducted in 2012 discovered that a backpacker group was 50% more creative when they spent 4 days on one of their hiking trails. The study also revealed that creativity started to peak after around 3 days of escaping from everything and immersing oneself in nature.

The study involved a basic creativity test which they gave to 4 backpacker groups totaling 60 people before they started the hike. This same creativity test was also given to the 2nd group of 60 backpackers, yet this 2nd group was only given this test 4 days into the hike.The group that had already been on a hike for 4 days, scored 50% higher when compared to the 1st group of backpackers. Ruth Ann Atchley, the main researcher of this study explained that stimulation and constant distractions associated with modern life has become a threat that is sapping our resources.

When we spend more time in nature, only then can our minds drop these threat responses, leaving us with the resources that we need to become more creative.

The landscaping giants at Wayne’s Landscaping truly believe in the power of trees. They say, “trees are so important. Not only are they necessary for us to breathe, but they breathe so much life into a garden. No home is complete without a tree in the garden.”

 

Majestic River Red Gum in the Brisbane Ranges, VIC.

 

Trees make us kinder.

Studies have also suggested that experiences in nature can help us feel kinder and more compassionate towards others.

In one of the experiments, researchers asked a university student group to look at tall buildings or a towering grove of eucalyptus trees over a period of one minute. They discovered that the group of students that were asked to stare at the trees experienced an increased feeling of wonder and awe and that they were in some type of presence that related to something bigger than themselves.

After the test, one experimenter dropped pens on the ground, pretending that it was an accident. The group that was looking up at the eucalyptus trees, picked up significantly more pens when compared to the group that was asked to view the building. In another, similar study, researchers discovered that individuals were more prone to helping a person that had lost their glove when they had just spent time walking across a tree-filled park, compared to those that didn’t stray far from the entrance of the park.

For all the aforementioned reasons, I have made it a daily practice to interact with trees. This could mean taking a stroll down the road to visit my favourite oak, or gazing out of my office window.

I enjoy acknowledging trees in my vicinity with a quick hug or pat. The more I discover about trees, the more I love them.

 

 

Charlie Wilson is an Australian writer and uni student living in Melbourne. He is passionate about technology and the latest innovations. Charlie also has a love for animal welfare, regularly taking breaks from work to volunteer with the local pet rescue.