Doctors have long ago determined that regular outings in the good old Mature Nature is a major boost for one’s health. If you are a parent, then you know how your kids feel better and have fewer problems with asthma, obesity, as well as an improved immune system and sleeping patterns. But is there a link between nature and mental health issues? Does nature help with those problems as well? It seems that there is a link because a plethora of scientific researches and articles that talk about this link have emerged in the last decade.
All these studies point to the same fact – nature has a tremendous impact on our mental health and people with mental issues should spend as much time in nature as possible. Therefore, we ask you to forget about the size of your home and think more about the size of your yard or if you are closer to the forest instead of the concrete jungle.
Nature and mental health issues – Why is it important to go out regularly?
For now, most of the researches and studies that are looking for a link between nature and mental health are focused on kids. And, every single one of those studies shows that the more time kids spend in the great outdoors, the happier and healthier they are. On the other hand, kids that don’t spend much time outside, tend to suffer both physically and mentally.
A certain study that was conducted on almost million kids showed that kids who don’t have access to nature, or green spaces at least, have a 55% higher chance of suffering from a psychiatric illness later in their lives. In addition, there are even studies that suggest that do spend plenty of time in nature have a lower risk of suffering from ADHD.
Despite all the studies and proofs from these studies, one fact remains the same – As technology evolves and as our lifestyle becomes faster and faster, both kids and adults spend less and less time in the outdoors. We tend to spend more time in front of the TV or computer or Smartphones, 3 times more time than being outside to be precise. Thus, the percentage of mental health issues goes up every year.
Does it work for adults?
Just as for the kids, the same goes for adults as well. The less time you spend in nature, the more stress “eats” you out. Also, the higher are the chances of suffering from mental health issues. A simple thing such as a walk through a forest could benefit your mental health tremendously. While you walk in nature, your stress hormone levels, such as cortisol, become lower. Likewise, nature is one of the best buffers against stress and it’s damaging effects, and, for example, high blood pressure is just one of them. In addition, the more you spend time in the great outdoors, the lower are your chances of suffering from depression and anxiety.
Furthermore, we also have to mention that there’s a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and mental health. And there’s also a link between the lack of nature and poorer areas.
So what can You do?
The answer is simple, get out and spend time in nature as much as possible. Makes sure that your kids spend a few hours in the park or woods every single day. Only this way can you make sure that the stress in you is counteracted by the healing powers of nature. In the unfortunate event that your city lacks green areas, talk to your neighbors, write a petition to your local council and ask for more parks and green areas. You never know, your words might get through to someone who can help all of you build a greener, healthier surrounding, and future.