“Being in natural settings is intrinsically soothing and is shown to reduce unhealthy behavior,” he says. “Exactly why isn’t clear, but there is probably an evolutionary factor, as human beings and their predecessors were raised in, evolved in and likely designed for natural settings.”This affinity to natural life forms, what researchers term “biophilia,” is now being incorporated into new therapy techniques such as walk-and-talk therapy and adventure-based counseling, according to clinical psychologist Mary Gregerson of Heartlandia Psychology in Parkville, Mo. Being outdoors, she says, allows individuals an opportunity to “decompress” and can be a meditative experience. “You give yourself a change of pace and are able to lose a sense of that time pressure. It’s about being in the moment. That in and of itself is the achievement that you’re looking for.”While the positive effects of nature have been illustrated in numerous studies, researchers are just beginning to understand why and how this happens.