Physiological stress and indoor nature exposure

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Physiological stress and indoor nature exposure

Stress is a reaction that occurs when a person perceives an imbalance between the stresses received and the resources available. It is, precisely, a general adaptation syndrome capable of re-establishing a new internal balance following stress factors.

The alterations of the internal balance can occur at the endocrine, humoral, organic, biological level. The syndrome can be physiological, but it can also have pathological implications, even chronic ones, which fall into the field of psychosomatics.

In general, it is customary to distinguish between eustress and distress, or good stress and bad stress, respectively. In an attempt to make the assessment as objective as possible, in recent decades we have switched to studying the physiological alterations of stress, which mainly depend on sympathetic hyperactivation and inhibition of the parasympathetic compartment, mainly affecting cardiac effectors.

The direct measurement of the activity of the nervous system can be carried out directly through microneurography, a complex and delicate technique that records the level of activity of a peripheral nerve through microelectrodes; however, it is not suitable for large-scale application.

Physiological stress and indoor nature exposure

The study: Indoor nature exposure and influence on physiological stress markers, published on the International journal of environmental health research, explained: "Spending time in nature is beneficial for stress reduction and recovery.

Using the properties of biophilic design, this study examined the influence of a nature-based indoor environment on physiological stress systems. An experimental study was designed to assess the influence of indoor natural elements on autonomic activity (heart rate variability or HRV), self-reported environmental assessments.

No differences in heart rate variability were found between participants assigned to either condition. The room with natural elements was rated more positively than the room without natural elements. Participant preference had more impact on changes in HRV for participants without exposure to natural elements.

The results suggest that natural elements in indoor environments may influence the regulation of stress response via env ironmental preference."