Page 154 - South Mississippi Living - June, 2023
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  story by Holly Harrison and Shannon Stage
 What Is It and Why Should You Know About It
 Every one of us wants to live long and prosper. We constantly seek answers and remedies to health questions trying to live our best lives and support the
health of the loved ones on the journey with us. Biophilic design is a way of thinking about the spaces where we live and work that recognizes our strong, innate reactions to nature and the measurable health benefits
of connecting to the natural world.
 At the core of who we are as humans is a deep relationship with nature. It is ingrained in our brains. We react to a beautiful sunset, a stroll along the beach, or a cool breeze on a hot day in very predictable ways. Our blood pressure is lowered, our stress level is reduced, and our mood is elevated. We instinctively look to nature for healing and restoration and wellbeing. We have a biological need for it. So how do we access the benefits of the natural world when we spend 90 percent of our time indoors?
For over four decades, the design community has been researching the mind, body, nature connections and developing strategies to integrate nature into our built environment. Biophilic design embraces some simple concepts for creating spaces that support health and wellness – we need direct exposure to nature, we are attracted and affected
by the repetition of natural patterns
and use of natural materials, and we are strongly attached to people and places we call home. From those concepts there are design elements that can be incorporated into our homes and workplaces that
will help us live better lives and impact our health and happiness. Many of the ideas sound like just good old common sense, particularly when you can hear the wisdom of your grandmother or mother saying them to you.
Take advantage of views and vistas of natural landscapes. Window coverings should be adjusted every day. Maximize natural light, but also create shadows using fixtures with bulbs of varying intensity and color as you would expect to see in an outdoor setting. Simulate the natural cycles of light and dark daily. Let the sunshine in but be able to completely darken your sleeping spaces at night with
blackout shades or drapery.
Select colors for walls and décor you
would see on a walk through the woods or in a garden or along the shore. Think about the colors that make you feel good and bring you comfort. Everyone has
an immediate response to color. Honor
it. Plant a garden just outside a window where it can be seen from inside. Bring in fresh plants and flowers often. Purchase furniture made from natural materials like wood and rattan and accent with textiles that have patterns that replicate natural features like the curves of branches or other natural landscape forms. Decorate with natural motifs like flowers, animals, and shells.
Open windows as often as possible for fresh ventilation and air movement. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor air can be ten times more polluted than outdoor air. Keep
154 | June 2023 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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