Healthy nature: the benefits of nature for mental health

Do you feel that your mood improves after a walk in the park or the forest? Do you like spending time surrounded by nature, especially when you are stressed? You are not the only one. According to one study, 95% of people interviewed said that spending time outdoors improved their mood. Although there have been no randomized controlled studies on the effect of contact with nature on mental well-being, the results of other research supporting this fact are quite strong. Even if scientists find it difficult to establish a clear relationship, it is enough to spend a couple of hours in a natural environment to experience the benefits. Let’s see what these benefits are and some tips on how to incorporate nature into our daily activities Kambo.

Nature can improve your overall mood
As we mentioned, one study found that 95% of people interviewed said their mood improved by spending time outdoors. They felt less depressed, stressed and nervous, and more relaxed and balanced. Another study showed that spending time in nature is related to positive mood, psychological well-being and vitality. 2Bottom line: People who spend more time in nature tend to be happier.

Nature can reduce stress
Taking a walk outside may be the last thing on your mind when you’re stressed. Most likely, you will continue doing what you have in hand to finish it as soon as possible. However, this strategy has been shown to be incorrect. Some studies indicate that spending time in nature prevents and calms stress, as long as it is in a safe environment. Nature can not only help reduce blood pressure, reduce nervous system agitation, and improve immune system function. It can also increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and stress hormone levels, and improve mood. They are all advantages.

Nature can speed healing
A study on patients undergoing gallbladder surgery revealed another interesting effect of nature on our well-being. Half of the patients had a clear view of a small group of trees from their bed, while what the other half saw was a brick wall. The results showed that the hospitalization period of patients with the view of the trees was shorter and they received more positive comments from the nursing staff (for example, “he is in a good mood” or “he is in good condition”) and therefore They generally received milder analgesics compared to the other group . Of course, the results of this study do not directly translate into improved mental health, but the fact that looking at trees has such effects is quite illuminating about the healing power of nature. And those healing powers are likely to go beyond physical recovery.

Nature can connect us
All of the studies mentioned suggest that nature benefits us as individuals, but more and more research shows that it also has a positive effect on society as a group. One study found that people who spent 60 seconds looking at very tall trees more frequently showed feelings of awe. This is already a positive result in itself, but there is more. These people who looked at trees for one minute were also more likely to help a stranger and felt less arrogant than the other half of the test participants, who looked at an equally tall building for one minute as well.

This study addresses a broader issue, the so-called “nature deficit”, which refers to the lack of contact with the natural environment. This is often due to the many hours we spend in front of the television or computer screen. Nature deficit has a serious impact on our well-being, as it has been associated with depression, loss of empathy and lack of altruism.

How to incorporate nature into our daily lives
Deep down, we all know that we should spend less time in front of a screen and more time outdoors. Researchers’ opinions vary on the ideal amount of time spent outside to improve mental health, which ranges from 2 hours a week 6to 90 minutes a day. However, something that most researchers agree on is the fact that just looking at the landscape is not enough. You have to immerse yourself in nature to obtain all the benefits. The Japanese are already very aware of this. So-called “forest bathing” (shinrin-yoku) has been popular in Japan for decades. It involves a complete sensory experience outside, which is achieved by walking very slowly and very consciously.

But if you don’t have much time (or a natural environment close to home), but want to enjoy the benefits of nature, we have good news for you. Research shows that even though they are artificial, the sights, sounds and smells of nature can have positive health effects. Listening to the sounds of nature with headphones, for example, is a very accessible way to be in contact with nature. It can improve mood, reduce stress levels and make us feel more connected to those close to us.

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