Spend Time in Nature
Nature Withdrawal

The absence of biophilia may be found in a theory called nature-deficit disorder, first proposed in a book by Richard Louv, who says that a lack of physical contact with nature harms children. Louv argues that sensationalist stories and technology have pushed children away from nature.

His book, "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder," also maintains that children who are exposed to nature, particularly from a young age, do better than their peers. They're less stressed and learn to think creatively. Playing in nature allows them to be active and may represent an important tool in fighting childhood obesity.

Many people would claim to have an instinctive attraction to nature and a desire to preserve it. We want to protect the rain forests, clean up pollution, and if possible, live by the sea or a nice park. And despite much of the world's population living in urban areas, we interact with nature in many ways, whether in a mediated way through having domesticated animals as pets, or by going camping or fishing.

The concept of biophilia, a term coined by biologist E.O. Wilson, states that evolution has bred us to appreciate and do well in nature. The scientific literature backs him up, as studies have found that people who are exposed to nature become ill less frequently. (Similarly, hospital patients recover more quickly if placed by a window with a pleasant view [source: Bloom].) Pets and spending time in nature are both tremendous stress relievers. Having a cat or dog can also help people to alleviate loneliness or feel in touch with nature, even when confined in a city.