|QUALITY OF LIFE|
| 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.