Researchers designed two experiments to test nature as a restorative environment. Expanding on previous studies of nature’s restorative qualities, the two experiments used multiple indicators to validate results, including: self-reports of emotional restoration, behavior measurements of mental restoration, and in one experiment, physiological measures.  Findings from both experiments indicated that; (1) long-term exposure to nature yields lower immediate restoration but a significant long-term restoration effect, (2) short-term exposure to nature produces an immediate sense of restoration, (3) “being away” from daily activities and place is not sufficient to produce restorative effects (i.e. a natural setting is important), and (4) restoration can be found in a range of natural settings (i.e. urban parks as well as wilderness areas). The study suggests more considerate planning for public as well as therapeutic environments in order to facilitate mental rejuvenation and recovery.

Full Article: http://eab.sagepub.com/content/23/1/3.abstract

Hartig, T., Mang, M., & Evans, G.W. (1991). Restorative Effects of Natural Environmental Experiences. Environment and Behavior23(1), 3-26.