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Mar 07
2019

Nature Really Does Help You Feel Better

Posted by: Jim Lillie

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Jim Lillie

Nature Really Does Help You Feel Better

Not exactly all by itself. We have to want to be in and among nature for its effects to provide our mental health with a boost.

That should come as a relief to anyone with access to nature who might have already tried apps, medication, machines, or other remedies to manage their emotions.

Several studies exist on the subject of nature helping to improve our moods. Overall, scientists seem convinced that being out in "green space" can give a positive charge to mental health by bolstering the immune system, stimulating social interaction and physical activity, and permitting overworked minds to find restoration and calm.

One recent study, published in February 2019 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used data from Danish health registries of almost a million children born between 1985 and 2003. The researchers looked at the relationship between the mental health of the children and their proximity to green space.

The researchers determined that the risk for developing a psychiatric disorder in adulthood or adolescence was higher for people who were surrounded by less green space. The difference: from 15 to 55 per cent.

Kathleen Wolf, a research social scientist at the School of Environmental & Forest Sciences at the University of Washington who did not participate in the PNAS research, told Mashable that the study served as something of a wake-up call for taking the effects of green space seriously.

"Can we, by way of urban greening and other interventions, alleviate the pain and suffering before it happens?" she said.

The issue becomes more than theoretical when one considers that preserving or obtaining green space can involve navigating a maze of governmental and regulatory approvals.

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