Humans have a deeply engrained love of nature which is an intuitive and natural drive imprinted into our DNA. It is thus no surprise that nature helps us cope with pain.
We are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort, says the University of Minnesota’s article, “How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?”
This is nicely demonstrated in a now classic study of patients who underwent gallbladder surgery; half had a view of trees and half had a view of a wall. According to the physician who conducted the study, Robert Ulrich, the patients with the view of trees tolerated pain better, appeared to nurses to have fewer negative effects, and spent less time in a hospital.
More recent studies have shown similar results with scenes from nature and plants in hospital rooms.