He was inside for so long, his colleague forced him to get out. Hilarity ensues.

This is Dr. James Hamblin.

He's a medical doctor and a journalist who focuses on health stories (naturally).


As their resident health expert, one of his colleagues asked him if he was aware of a phenomenon known as nature-deficit disorder.

He hadn't. But it turns out he might actually have it.


Nature-deficit disorder is the result of the prolonged separation of humans from nature.

The term was conceived by Richard Louv in his book, "Last Child in the Woods," which explores the widening chasm between kids and nature in an increasingly digital age.


You won't see mention of nature-deficit disorder in diagnostic manuals or on psychological scales, but it is a widely-accepted concept and its treatment through ecotherapy is gaining popularity.

Here's why:

On average, Americans spend anywhere from 80% to 99% of their time indoors.

That pretty well sums up why ecotherapy exists. Timothy Egan of The New York Times wrote:

"For most of human history, people chased things or were chased themselves. They turned dirt over and planted seeds and saplings. They took in Vitamin D from the sun, and learned to tell a crow from a raven. ... And then, in less than a generation's time, millions of people completely decoupled themselves from nature."

Technology has transformed how we spend our time.

A Pew Research Center poll showed that over half of all Americans carry those tiny computers we call "smartphones" in their pockets. And a Nielsen report found that we spend an average of 11 hours a day being bombarded with digital media.

So Hamblin decided was forced to take a break from the office to go "look at some trees."

And he had an ecotherapist there to guide him.


Ecotherapy, the treatment of health issues through various methods that involve being in nature, can have significant health benefits.

Among them are reduced anxiety and depression, improved self-esteem, reduced blood pressure and obesity, and even lessened fatigue among cancer patients.

In a lot of ways, spending time outdoors and being active in nature can be the miracle treatment a lot of us need. And the beauty of it is that, while it's helpful to have professional support, it doesn't have to cost a dime.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there, go for a hike, work in the dirt, climb a tree, or just be.

Hamblin is quite the character. I really recommend watching him in action below:

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

Keep Reading Show less