Self-transcendence and self-determination: possibilities of why and when nature is beneficial

Date

2018-08-15

Authors

Lee, Elliott

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Abstract

Nature’s salutary effects are well-established. A psychological connection to nature and exposure to nature are both associated with a variety of well-being indicators. Attempts to explain why these benefits occur are often from the perspective of why nature reduces ill-being. This leaves a lack of understanding of why nature increases well-being (e.g., hedonic and eudaimonic well-being). Self-transcendence is proposed as a mechanism that is activated by nature and explains why people feel greater well-being from engaging with it. In addition to understanding why nature is beneficial, we need to understand when—under what conditions—it is beneficial. The benefits of nature vary based upon conditions such as the amount of biodiversity in the area and personality of the person in nature. Motivation to engage with nature is implicated as an important factor for whether or not nature is beneficial. Two multi-study manuscripts address these questions: (1) does self-transcendence explain why nature is beneficial and (2) does nature engagement motivation affect whether nature is beneficial?

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Keywords

nature, natural, well-being, happiness, self-transcendence, motivation

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