Matthew is an advocate of psychological, cultural and social approaches to experiences of distress that challenge medical and individualist models. He has undertaken research and written extensively on the healing benefits of nature and human-nature relations in an era of unprecedented ecological crisis.
It was his article recently published in The Conversation which caught our attention: A radical nature-based agenda would help society overcome the psychological effects of coronavirus
Matthew explains: More of us than ever are stuck indoors, whether we are working at home, self-isolating, or socially distancing from other households. Long periods of isolation are already impacting many people’s mental health and will continue to do so.
On the other hand, people have reported discovering outdoor spaces on their doorstep as they are forced to stay local. Many say they have felt happier for doing so.
This reinforces the surge of research exploring the psychological benefits of connecting to nature that has developed in recent years. The idea is also growing that encouraging time in and engagement with nature has enormous potential in terms of mental health and wellbeing.
Matthew shared this beautiful meaningful poem with us:
William Martin – The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
Matt referred to Attention Restoration Theory by Kaplan and Kaplan.
Theory (ART) and first appeared in their late 1980s book The experience of nature: A psychological perspective. Lots of research on it since!
Simple intro the theory here: https://positivepsychology.com/attention-restoration-theory/
Soft fascination is briefly explored as a concept in these links:
Royalty-free music with permission from artist: Woah by Vincent Augustus
Producers: Alasdair and Uros: Far Out Podcast