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Creating Homes That Enrich Our Senses

biophilia nature

NON-VISUAL CONNECTION WITH NATURE

How to create homes that positively enrich our senses.

Our senses are highly adapted to the natural environment and have evolved to enable our species to survive, our unconscious mind still connects with Mother Nature today. Biophilic design is associated with our inherent love of nature and design experts are beginning to develop ways to connect our interior spaces with the natural world, helping to improve our well-being, productivity and creativity.

We have discussed how we can make the most of our visual connection to nature in our homes, but to further enrich our experience we should consider engaging with all of our five senses.

experiencing nature with the senses
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To better understand the non-visual connection, think about when you were last in nature and what sounds you heard, what aromas did you notice, did you taste Blackberrys or touch the surface of a tree? Engaging your senses deepens your connection within the environment. Adding some of these elements will provide more sensory-rich experiences in our home. 

blackberry picking good for the soul
Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

Sounds

Listening to the sounds of nature can physically help us to relax. The trees blowing in the wind, bird song, or the gentle flow of a stream can calm us. Replicating these sounds in our homes can have the same therapeutic benefits. To become aware of the sounds of nature, be still and listen. Opening windows you will hear the sounds of nature, you could hear the birds singing, the wind blowing in the trees, or the sound of rain.

 watching the rain

Photo by Courtney Smith on Unsplash

 

  • Providing bird feeders can encourage birds into your garden and maybe they will serenade you.
  • Sound recordings of nature are available to download via apps and you could then listen to sounds of nature at your leisure.
  • You can purchase indoor water features to place on a table top or even install a built-in wall of water!
  • Wind chimes are a lovely way to bring in sounds as they gently sway with the rhythm of a breeze.

wind chimes
      Photo by DynamicWang on Unsplash
      • We could also appreciate the sounds that our home makes, maybe a creaky wooden floorboard replicating sounds of woodland branches creaking in the wind.

      • Our pets familiar sounds, how we love to hear our cats purr or maybe our dog's tip-tapping feet on a bare wood floor makes us aware of other living things around us.

      Touch

      Touch is a sense that is always present and under appreciated. Research has found how objects feel can influence how we interpret them. Consciously appreciating textures and surfaces around our home can stimulate our feelings. Touch is an inquiry of the mind through our fingers which can bring a sense of calm. Our sense of touch provides a wealth of information about the natural environment including temperature and humidity. 

      • Wooden surfaces can be very tactile and provide interest within our spaces.
      • The coolness of a smooth granite worktop. 

      • A variety of home textiles in natural fabrics such as warm comforting blankets to create cosy relaxed spaces. 

      • Flooring surfaces, bare wooden floors, rugs, carpets and ceramic tiles. Feeling with our bare feet helps to locate us. We know, for example we are in the kitchen or bathroom when we feel the coolness of tiled flooring.

      • Stroking our pets is widely understood to reduce stress levels. Therapy dogs visit health care centres and hospitals, we are comforted by their presence.   

      pets as therapy

      Photo by cottonbro Canva
      • Touch can affect our comfort levels and not just with our hands, think about how nice it is to relax on a comfy sofa or get into a comfy bed with freshly washed linen and how nice soft your towels feel against your skin. 

      Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

      Smell

      Studies have shown that fragrances found in nature that are considered a high pleasantness, can have a profound effect on reducing the first signs of stress. Aromas can also evoke emotional responses linking to memories. Fragrances from the outdoors can be present when doors and windows are open, you may even smell the rain this is known as Petrichor.

      lavender oils for the home

      Photo by Mareefe 

       

      • Fragrant flowers in vases provide beautiful aromas in the home.
      • Natural potpourri using flowers and herbs. See how to make potpourri at Learning Herbs 

      make your own Potpourri

      Photo by Elly Fairytale
      • Rose or lavender sachets placed in draws or hung in a wardrobe, a lavender sachet under your pillow at night may even help you drift off to sleep. 

      • The aroma of freshly-baked bread or brewing coffee could evoke memories of nourishment and well-being.

      freshly baked bread

      Photo by Rūta Celma on Unsplash
      • Cleaning your home with natural cleaning products from companies like Green Scents supplying environment-friendly naturally fragranced products.

      • Naturally fragranced candles made with beeswax.

      Taste

      Growing your-own food offers a great way to connect your taste buds to nature! Vegetables seem to taste so much better when you have grown them or picked it yourself. Gardening is a mindful activity that lowers stress, provides exercise and healthy food at the same time! Studies have shown that soil produces a natural antidepressant that makes you relaxed and happier when inhaled or touched.

      home grown vegetables

      Photo by Skitterphoto 
      • Herb garden on a windowsill

      kitchen windowsill herb garden

      Photo by Harry Grout on Unsplash
      • Living salads, you can get these from the supermarket providing you with lovely fresh salad leaves.

      • Indoor pots of herbs, chilies, peppers or small growing varieties of tomato plants.

      • Growing strawberries indoors I love this idea! See how here at the Balcony Garden Web. I have got to try this!! 

      • Picking wild blackberries or blueberries when in season used in your recipes, just divine! 

      bleck berries foraging

      Photo by Jamal Yahya
      • Foraging for food has increased in popularity our ancestors would have done this. To engage with this we need to be careful about what to pick. Always seek advice from a foraging expert. 

      If you would like to learn more about the benefits of bringing nature into your home sign up to our newsletter below.

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      Sources:
      Clemens G. Avery 2018, Forward to English edition, Marc Bekof 2018, Biophilia Effect 2018, pg 29
      https://www.ambius.com/blog/biophilia-a-better-building-experience/
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170330132354.htm
      https://learning-center.homesciencetools.com/article/skin-touch/
      https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/06/how-touch-can-influence-judgments/
      https://aquafolium.co.uk/2017/09/06/making-sense-of-nature-touch/
      https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/smells-of-nature-lower-physiological-stress-66864
      https://www.livescience.com/why-smells-trigger-memories.html
      https://www.thespruce.com/feng-shui-ways-to-make-home-smell-amazing-1274688
      https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/herbcovered
      https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/soil-helps-depression#:~:text=Did%20you%20know%20that%20there's,makes%20you%20relaxed%20and%20happier.
      Article cover photo by Tsunami Green on Unsplash

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