The Rise of Nature Deficit Disorder

family awareness day, family

Electronic gadgets, from smartphones to tablets, have become great distractions for most Americans. These gadgets keep us connected to the cyber world as we loose touch with Mother Nature. This has contributed to the rise of “Nature Deficit Disorder.”

Defining Nature Deficit Disorder

Richard Louv coined the term, “Nature Deficit Disorder,” in his eye-opening book, Last Child in the Woods. Mr. Louv talks about the trend in our world of children experiencing less and less time in nature each year. Mr. Louv believes “Nature Deficit Disorder” can result in psychological and medical problems. Our children are continually spending more time with their electronic media instead of experiencing nature.

Eco-therapy is an emerging science that is revealing our psychological and physical health may depend on our contact with nature. Interaction with nature has proven to reduce symptoms of ADD in children, according to a University of Illinois study. In the study, the overall findings indicate that exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children. Our labile, technology dependent children are getting fat, becoming more depressed and are developing a fear of nature instead of trusting nature and themselves.

The answer is simple: get outdoors with your family and friends or enjoy the great outdoors by yourself. For children who may be experiencing Nature Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv notes that it’s important that parents set a positive example. In an interview with NPR, Louv states that “it’s so important for parents to find their own enthusiasm and discover nature with their child.”

End your Nature Deficit Disorder with these Mindful suggestions:

Have regular picnics in your backyard or at parks around town. Also put up a play set, badminton set, croquet or a basketball hoop in your backyard. Plan weekend getaways at our beautiful State and National Parks. The cost is low and this is an opportunity to have face time, and observe your children and family dynamics. Don’t miss a moment of creating these precious memories with your family as you also create the seeds of mental and physical health.