We have been speculating about the why of how being in Nature improves our mental and physical health. There is significant research proving that being in Nature lowers our stress levels, improves our immune system, sharpens our minds, and can heal us from trauma. But the why is much more mysterious. Our attempt to answer the why has been focused on our past experience as a species, the evolutionary impact of living and adapting to our lives outdoors for millions of years.
Our fortunate connection with Neil, the curator of Bonsai trees at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego, California, helped us dig deeper into the question of why.
Standing next to the inspiring Bonsai tree exhibit at the garden, we were discussing how fractal patterns, self-repeating shapes and forms that are easily found in Nature, are so pleasant to look at.
“Just like the Bonsai,” Neil said, as he pointed to a small juniper. “You’ll notice the tree has an overall triangle shape.”
“As you begin to look closely, you’ll notice that triangle is repeated in smaller forms for each branch, then each sub-branch.”