So how can fractals in nature can improve our wellbeing?

What’s that about?

Fractals are natural patterns that are found in both plants and animals.
They are created when a fractal is repeated multiple times and have been shown to:
– have a calming effect on the human brain
– improve our memory and help us to focus better
– help to reduce stress levels and anxiety

Find out more about fractals in this vlog (if you would prefer to read about it, there is a video transcript below the video).

How Fractals In Nature Can Improve Our Wellbeing – Video Transcript

What’s that about?

It’s about forest bathing, which doesn’t require a forest or a bath or shower of any kind.

It’s really about connecting with nature, in a slow, considered, mindful way, through our senses.

So, you could think about it as mindfulness in nature. A state of being, of calmness, and focus, improving our wellbeing no end.

Connecting with nature is in our DNA, our ancestors were always on the lookout for patterns, so that they could be alert to any danger. So we are constantly scanning the horizon, not only for bad, like a lion lurking in the bush, but also for good stuff.

And that’s where fractals come in, they are full of patterns, repeating patterns, nature is full of them.

For instance:

  • leaves
  • rivers
  • coastlines
  • mountains
  • clouds
  • seashells
  • lakes
  • snowflakes

…all calming and good for de-stressing.

My absolute favourite is ferns, the way they start out all curled up, and then how beautiful they are when they uncurl, and show themselves to the world.

fern fractals in nature

Trees are also natural fractals, they are patterns that repeat smaller and smaller copies of themselves to create the biodiversity of a forest.

Our ‘visual system is, in some way, hard wired to understand fractals, and our stress reduction is triggered by a psychological resonance, when the fractal structure of the eye, matches that of the fractal image being viewed.

Brain scans reveal that looking at fractals can activate the para-hippocampus, an area of the brain which helps us to process and regulate emotions.

Researcher, Richard Taylor used computer-based visual tracking to show that we search our environment using fractals.

When we look at a scene, our brain is looking for these patterns for our eyes to follow. If we find no fractals, to structure our survey, but instead a jumble of unrelated objects, for example, a city street, the brain becomes exhausted and stressed.  I always wondered why I was tired when I came home from shopping.

When we automatically look for fractals in nature, they have a positive effect on our brains, even though we are unaware of it, and even if we are aware of it, Richard Taylor believes that fractals are a basic need for humans – they are essential for wellbeing, just like food and water and exercise. He believes we need regular doses to remain healthy.

And the good thing is, once we are aware of them, we see them everywhere.

So go out into nature today, whether it be the woods, on a beach, in a park, next to a canal, or river, and see what fractals you can spot.

Maybe its clouds, or trees, leaves of plants, or seashells, or ferns, and be light hearted about it, even playful, while expanding your awareness of these wonderful fractals, and observe how this experience makes your feel, really bring your awareness to how fractals in nature can improve your wellbeing.

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