Is Feeling Connected to Nature Associated with Life Satisfaction?
We may feel a sense of tranquility as we take a walk in the park. We may feel
happy as we take a hike on a trail next to a mountain stream. We may feel a sense
of wonder as we gaze at a beautiful sunset. All of these experiences may help us
to feel a sense of connectedness with nature. Is the feeling of a sense of
connectedness to nature associated with greater satisfaction with one's life?
In their fourth study, Mayer and Frantz (2004) had people fill out
questionnaires with some questions pertaining to the connectedness of nature
scale, and some questions pertaining to a life satisfaction measure (see their article
for information about other measures and results). They found that the
connectedness to nature measure was positively correlated with life satisfaction.
One possible interpretation of this finding is that feeling connected to nature
makes us more satisfied with life. Feeling more connected with nature may foster
a more positive self-image. For example, feeling connected with nature may make
us feel like a more well-rounded person. Moreover, feeling more connected with
nature may increase our perceived purpose in life.
However, because this was a correlational study, we cannot make causal
conclusions. People who feel a sense of connectedness with nature may have a
general sense of connectedness. They may feel more connected with people.
Feeling connected with nature may be associated with life satisfaction because it
may be associated with social connectedness, and social connectedness may
influence life satisfaction.
Mayer, F. S., & Frantz, C. M. (2004). The connectedness to nature scale: A
measure of individuals' feeling in community with nature. Journal of
Environmental Psychology, 24, 503-515.