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Nature and well-being with Holli-Anne Passmore

Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 2.4

How often do you notice your everyday natural environment? If you’re not having these moments of notice, then you may want to start. In this episode, Holli-Anne Passmore shares her research on nature and well-being. Learn how these findings can greatly impact you and your community … for the better.



Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Denise] Hello and welcome to Two for You. Today we're happy to speak with Holli-Anne Passmore who's pursuing her PhD at the University of British Columbia. Her Positive Psychology research includes how connecting with nature can enhance your well-being. We're definitely intrigued. Welcome Holli-Anne.

[Holli-Anne] Hello, thank you so much for having me today.

[Denise] Our pleasure. So, in reading about your research we learned that you found that moments of nature affected individuals' well-being. Could you share more about that with us?

[Holli-Anne] Sure, so what I did was have participants just pay attention to the everyday nature that they wouldn't normally pay attention to. So just pay attention to the everyday nature. How does that make you feel? And I had them do that for two weeks and then to tell me about the emotions that they experienced. So, compared to the other groups - the control groups - at the end of the two weeks, people who hadn't changed their routines, just paid attention to these moments of nearby nature were happier, more satisfied with their lives, they had greater levels of meaning in life. Two interesting findings - they also felt more connected, so not just to nature but connected to other people and the world in general. They also exhibited greater pro-social behavior, so things like, they valued family and friends to a greater degree. They were also more willing to share with others. One of the interesting findings as well, with all of these great benefits both for individual and community, both with feeling connected to others and pro-social behavior - it wasn't because people spent more time in nature. They simply noticed the nature around them. Like you said, they just had more moments of nature.

[Lori] So that's really great. As you think about individuals and leaders and community leaders what could they do to really improve community members' well-being, Holli?

[Holli-Anne] That's a great question. So one of the things I think that individuals can do is of course notice the nature around them. And also, city officials and individual members can encourage their city officials that when they're planning the city, it's not just about the big green spaces, the big parks, which are important. It's the everyday kinds of nature. It's the trees at the bus stop, it's how you get to work. The pathways around your work, walking to work, the number of trees on your street. These make a huge impact on people's individual well-being and other people's research show, also on our physical health and even longevity.

[Lori] Thank you for joining us today and for sharing your research with us. And for you listeners, what can you do to take notice of nature around you, but also to advocate and to promote nature in your community so you can live and lead with intention.

[Denise] Thank you, Holli-Anne.

[Holli-Anne] Thank you so much.

[Lori] Thank you. 


Authors: Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme, former Extension educators

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