• Does a natural environment enhance the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)? Examining the mental health and wellbeing, and nature connectedness benefits

      Jorgensen, Anna; Sheffield, David; Choe, Eun Yeong; University of Sheffield; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2020-06-24)
      This study investigated whether the impacts of a commonly used wellbeing intervention, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), are enhanced when combined with the benefits of exposure to a natural environment. Participants (n = 99) were randomly assigned to a weekly one-hour MBSR in one of three different environments (i.e. natural outdoor, built outdoor and indoor environments) over a six-week period. Participants’ wellbeing outcomes and nature connectedness were measured at baseline, during the intervention and at one-week and one-month follow up. The results show that the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of MBSR are greater when it carried out in a natural outdoor environment compared with indoor or built environments. Moreover, participants in the natural outdoor environment showed sustained improvements even after one month from completion of the intervention. This study supports the potential value of natural environments as settings for the enhancement of health care delivery and therapeutic interventions.
    • Joy and calm: how an evolutionary functional model of affect regulation informs positive emotions in nature

      Richardson, Miles; McEwan, Kirsten; Maratos, Frances A.; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Springer, 2016-08-23)
      Key theories of the human need for nature take an evolutionary perspective, and many of the mental well-being benefits of nature relate to positive affect. As affect has a physiological basis, it is important to consider these benefits alongside regulatory processes. However, research into nature and positive affect tends not to consider affect regulation and the neurophysiology of emotion. This brief systematic review and meta-analysis presents evidence to support the use of an existing evolutionary functional model of affect regulation (the three circle model of emotion) that provides a tripartite framework in which to consider the mental well-being benefits of nature and to guide nature-based well-being interventions. The model outlines drive, contentment and threat dimensions of affect regulation based on a review of the emotion regulation literature. The model has been used previously for understanding mental well-being, delivering successful mental health-care interventions and providing directions for future research. Finally, the three circle model is easily understood in the context of our everyday lives, providing an accessible physiological-based narrative to help explain the benefits of nature.
    • Simulated natural environments bolster the effectiveness of a mindfulness programme: A comparison with a relaxation-based intervention

      Choe, Eun Yeong; Jorgensen, Anna; Sheffield, David; University of Sheffield; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2019-12-14)
      This study assesses the effectiveness of incorporating the beneficial effects of exposure to nature in a 3-week mindfulness programme. Participants (n = 122) were randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups (mindfulness, relaxation group) under different simulated environmental conditions (two natural, two non-natural environments) during an intervention lasting three weeks. The participants in the mindfulness group were asked to attend a weekly 1-h mindfulness programme. The relaxation group also spent 1 h per week on relaxation activities of their choice (e.g. reading books or magazines). Participants’ wellbeing outcomes and nature connectedness were measured before and after the three-week intervention, and at one-week follow-up. The findings show that the mindfulness programme was more effective when carried out in a natural environment. In addition, the mindfulness group in natural environments continued to improve even after the intervention was completed. This study offers valuable insights into the benefits of combining a wellbeing intervention with exposure to nature.