The Nature Fix

The Nature Fix

Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; and Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams set out to uncover the science behind nature's positive effects on the brain.In this informative and entertaining account, Williams investigates cutting-edge research as she travels to fragrant cypress forests in Korea to meet the rangers who administer "forest healing programs," to the green hills of Scotland and its "ecotherapeutic" approach to caring for the mentally ill, to a river trip in Idaho with Iraqi vets suffering from PTSD, to the West Virginia mountains where she discovers how being outside helps children with ADHD. The Nature Fix demonstrates that our connection to nature is much more important to our cognition than we think and that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. In prose that is incisive, witty, and urgent, Williams shows how time in nature is not a luxury but is in fact essential to our humanity. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas--and the answers they yield--are more urgent than ever.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780393242713
Branch Call Number: 155.9 Wil
Characteristics: xii, 280 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Aug 06, 2018

Most of us know that nature is "good for us", but Williams explores specifics around why our blood pressure drops, the effects of the smells of the forest, and the history behind walking in Scotland, among other things. What made this a worthy read for me was the insight that this was more effective for relaxation as meditation, and as effective if not more for things like PTSD and ADHD than medication.

Spoiler alert: there isn't a good substitute for nature, although the Singaporeans are doing well reclaiming nature. I wasn't crazy about the memoir-ish nature of the book, but fortunately that didn't interfere too much with the narrative.

Jul 31, 2018

Florence Williams has rounded up and interviewed many scientists who are studying exactly why nature is so good for us. It is an accessible read about the science behind what we already know. Time in nature changes us, heals us, and connects us to something larger. She intersperses passages from Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and especially William Wordsworth. She was a student of Geoffrey Hartman, a Wordsworth scholar. So, it is both the science and the philosophy. Her impetus for writing the book was her own move from the mountains of Colorado where they lived close to nature to Washington DC where they live surrounded by asphalt. What she wants to know is how much nature does she need to feel like she used to feel back in good old Colorado. For me, I need no convincing of nature's value.

Jul 20, 2018

The Nature Fix is a well-rounded exploration of the budding investigation into the benefits of nature on human health written in the style of readable science journalism with a touch of the travelogue.

Full review:

Jul 07, 2018

This book was recommended to me in response to my recent review of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr (another terrific book!). This book offers a perfect antidote to the damage the internet is doing to our brains!

The Nature Fix is organized into five sections that include theories of why being in nature is so good for us and for our brains, and suggestions on how to enjoy nature most effectively. The individual sections kind of wander all over, but there is plenty of good information there if you are willing to go with the flow and look for nuggets of information!

For example, how about this advice from Qing Li, an immunologist in the department of environmental medicine at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, on page 30:

“If you have time for a vacation, don’t go to a city. Go to a natural area. Try to go one weekend a month. Visit a park at least once a week. Gardening is good. On urban walks, try to walk under trees, not across fields. Go to a quiet place. Near water is also good.”

This book is so full of important and fascinating information that I wrote many pages about it! You will love it! Check it out now, and read it outdoors in nature!

Apr 04, 2018

This book provides a good overview of the state of research on the positive effects of exposure to nature on human health and well-being. It ranges from Japan, Korea, and Finland to Utah, Scotland, and Singapore comparing immersive, wild country experiences with a ramble in the local woods and a walk in a city park. Trees, particularly conifers, release anti-carcinogens into the air. ADHD may be a misdiagnosis of more active kids who in former times would have had their needs met by being outside exploring. Being in nature may help those with PTSD cope and heal. A good reference list allows further exploration of these topics.

debwalker Mar 31, 2018

The science behind the power of nature to heal the brain. Time to get out there.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top