Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Association Between Access to Restorative Natural Environments and Decreased Chronic Inflammation Public Deposited

  • The efficiency of modern urban life is accompanied by many adverse health outcomes. Human biological responses to modernization depend on the adaptive mechanisms that developed in natural environments. This literature synthesis gathers evidence in support of the claim that exposure to nature increases relaxation and reduces negative rumination and chronic stress, and thereby improves immune health.

    I provide an overview of the mechanisms through which exposure to nature impacts physiological and psychological functioning. Nature interventions improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of mental disorders and diseases through the feelings of awe and increased positive mood. Changes in mental health and well-being are attributed to the positive distraction away from oneself through nature, which uplift mood and reduce rumination. Stress reduction has positive effects on mental and physical fatigue, regulating the HPA axis and decreasing inflammation. Reduction of psychological stress and reinforcement of the mind-heart connection through exposure to nature restores immune health, affecting epigenetic patterns and microbiome eubiosis. Institutions can provide restorative natural environments and access to adequate green space through sustainable urban design methods, climate control and regulation, and socioeconomic equality.

Date Awarded
  • 2022-04-11
Academic Affiliation
Committee Member
Granting Institution
Last Modified
  • 2022-04-11
Resource Type
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