Does it ever feel like the mind noise never ends? Do you ever find yourself feeling trapped in a chaos of sound? Do you long for the opportunity to escape to a place of peace and solitude?
Well, here is your opportunity to escape! FSorb is proud to partner with Casa Alternavida, a premier wellness retreat center nestled between the warm turquoise ocean and tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico. FSorb is providing the opportunity to win a no-cost, all-inclusive (2) night stay in 2023 to help you focus on your self-care. The all-inclusive package features luxury accommodations and a complimentary coaching session, a $1,420 value!
There’s far more to this offering than meets the eye (or the ear). When you find yourself ensconced in the serene sounds of nature and lush natural surroundings of a retreat, it gives space for the rest of your senses to indulge. Your body, mind, and spirit will be nourished, and that’s not just romantic idealism talking. It’s science. We’ll show you why.
You might be familiar with the term biophilic design but are you familiar with how you as a human need regular access to nature for your dose of “biophilia?” Literally meaning, “love of living things,” biophilia refers to the intrinsic human preference for natural environments and the tendency to reap significant mental, physical, and emotional benefits from them. Biophilia, in essence, means that humans thrive in natural environments and that they are healthier, happier, and more successful when surrounded by nature or natural elements (1-4).
The benefits of time spent in nature are so significant, in fact, that there’s mounting evidence of robust therapeutic effects for even the most vulnerable populations. For example, studies suggest that persons with dementia who engage in regular horticultural activity may experience a decrease in symptom severity and an improvement in overall well-being (5). A similar study found that biophilic interior design improved quality of life and decreased symptoms for persons living with chronic migraines, chronic pain, or relapsing depression (6).
For many of us, these studies merely prove what we’ve intuitively always known: that the earth and sky, the wind and the waves, the sun and the rain, are good for us. We are biological beings, after all. Our lives are nurtured and nourished through connection with other organic elements.
The “Noise” of Nature
Not surprisingly, perhaps, biophilic theory is increasingly making its way into design practice. From urban planning centered on the incorporation of green spaces into the cityscape to interior designers integrating natural elements into their aesthetic practices, nature is blooming everywhere in the built environment.
There’s more to biophilia than the visual and tactile. The healing powers of nature also derive from the sound of natural elements. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that the sounds of nature are just as beneficial as the sight and feel of it, if not more so (7, 8). The soundscapes of national parks, for example, have been strongly associated with decreased stress and annoyance, elevated mood and sense of well-being, improved cognition and memory, and a reduction in pain symptoms (8-10).
The sounds of nature are generally categorized as “white noise,” in contrast to pink or gray noise, which is typically human-made (anthropogenic) and related to noise “pollution,” in which the soundscape is perceived largely as annoying, disruptive, and/or uncomfortable.
White noise is processed in the human auditory system far differently than pink or gray noise. Where those sounds trigger the brain’s arousal and stress responses, the encoding of white noise in the neural networks produces a calming effect. Not only this but exposure to the sounds of nature, has also been shown to boost creativity and cognitive processing (11). When you’re surrounded by the voice of nature, in other words, you don’t just feel happier and more relaxed, you also feel sharper and more inspired.
Escaping the Mental Chatter
As we’ve seen, being bathed in the sounds of nature has an incredible effect on the mind, body, and spirit. It produces a demonstrable neurochemical reaction, triggering the release of “feel-good” neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin while reducing cortisol and adrenaline levels.
There’s another power at work here because the sounds of nature sounds allow us to escape the inner chatterbox that seems to be inherent to our busy modern lives. “Mental Chatter” is a term coined by psychologist Ethan Kross to describe the dark side of the interior monologue we humans are born with. The chatter, also known as ruminative thoughts, is the incessant verbal stream of worry, fear, criticism, blame, and shame that floods our brains every waking hour, often without our conscious awareness.
This interior chatter rarely receives our focused attention, but it nevertheless shapes our perception and experience in profound, and often profoundly negative, ways. This means that we carry noise with us everywhere we go. We carry a cacophony inside us. It’s little wonder, then, that so many of us are anxious, exhausted, and unfocused.
It’s also why so many of us are in such dire need of the healing silence that only the sounds of nature can provide. The reality is that mental chatter and the voices of nature can’t coexist. The neurological response to nature sounds is antithetical to the stress response induced by noise exposure. Sooner or later, the more closely you listen to the voices of the wind and water, the birds and the insects, the less able you will be to hear that inner voice of negativity, worry, and recrimination because it brings you present to your senses.
Making time to walk on a secluded beach or sit on a patch of warm grass in a shady grove is often the perfect recipe for quieting your mind, for finding the silence inside yourself again, for letting the voice of nature still your own self-critical inner voice. In the tranquil void that follows, you will find peace, perspective, power, and potency. Your vitality, joy, and creativity will be reignited.
Let FSorb and Casa Alternavida Help You
Whether you are an architect, designer, environmental engineer, or an entrepreneur, FSorb and Casa Alternavida can help you practice being present in nature. Contact your local FSorb representative to explore the full line of innovative, customizable acoustic solutions to help you design the interior and exterior sound environments of your dreams.
When you are ready to book that much-needed wellness retreat and lose yourself in the restorative powers of nature, reach out to the expert team at Casa Alternavida to find the package that works for you. Above all, don’t forget to register to win your free two-night stay at Casa Alternavida in 2023, in partnership with FSorb. Good luck and happy healing!
At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.
O'Regan AC, Hunter RF, Nyhan MM. "Biophilic Cities": Quantifying the Impact of Google Street View-Derived Greenspace Exposures on Socioeconomic Factors and Self-Reported Health. Environ Sci Technol. 2021 Jul 6;55(13):9063-9073. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.1c01326. Epub 2021 Jun 23. PMID: 34159777; PMCID: PMC8277136.
Cooley SJ, Jones CR, Kurtz A, Robertson N. 'Into the Wild': A meta-synthesis of talking therapy in natural outdoor spaces. Clin Psychol Rev. 2020 Apr;77:101841. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2020.101841. Epub 2020 Mar 4. PMID: 32179342.
Capaldi CA, Dopko RL, Zelenski JM. The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis. Front Psychol. 2014 Sep 8;5:976. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00976. PMID: 25249992; PMCID: PMC4157607.
Stoltz J, Schaffer C. Salutogenic Affordances and Sustainability: Multiple Benefits With Edible Forest Gardens in Urban Green Spaces. Front Psychol. 2018 Dec 4;9:2344. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02344. PMID: 30574105; PMCID: PMC6292239.
Scott TL, Jao YL, Tulloch K, Yates E, Kenward O, Pachana NA. Well-Being Benefits of Horticulture-Based Activities for Community Dwelling People with Dementia: A Systematic Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Aug 24;19(17):10523. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191710523. PMID: 36078239; PMCID: PMC9517764.
Huntsman DD, Bulaj G. Healthy Dwelling: Design of Biophilic Interior Environments Fostering Self-Care Practices for People Living with Migraines, Chronic Pain, and Depression. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb 16;19(4):2248. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19042248. PMID: 35206441; PMCID: PMC8871637.
Franco LS, Shanahan DF, Fuller RA. A Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Aug 1;14(8):864. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14080864. PMID: 28763021; PMCID: PMC5580568.
Buxton RT, Pearson AL, Allou C, Fristrup K, Wittemyer G. A synthesis of health benefits of natural sounds and their distribution in national parks. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Apr 6;118(14):e2013097118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2013097118. PMID: 33753555; PMCID: PMC8040792.
Francis CD, Newman P, Taff BD, White C, Monz CA, Levenhagen M, Petrelli AR, Abbott LC, Newton J, Burson S, Cooper CB, Fristrup KM, McClure CJW, Mennitt D, Giamellaro M, Barber JR. Acoustic environments matter: Synergistic benefits to humans and ecological communities. J Environ Manage. 2017 Dec 1;203(Pt 1):245-254. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.07.041. Epub 2017 Aug 4. PMID: 28783021.
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Awada M, Becerik-Gerber B, Lucas G, Roll S. Cognitive performance, creativity and stress levels of neurotypical young adults under different white noise levels. Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 26;12(1):14566. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18862-w. PMID: 36028546; PMCID: PMC9418159.