Our mental health often feels like a mystery. A happy mood can inexplicably give way to sad or frightening thoughts. While we try to manage our emotional well-being through things like talk therapy, self-care apps, meditation, and medications, it's easy to feel that satisfaction is hard to achieve.
However, scientific research suggests that we overlook a key factor in optimal mental health: nature.
You may be skeptical about the idea that parks and plants make a real difference in our happiness, but the research is convincing. A large number of studies on this topic repeatedly point to a strong connection between green space and mental health. In general, scientists believe that "green space" experiences can improve mental health by improving the immune system, promoting physical activity and social interaction, limiting air pollution and noise that disturbs thinking, and turning a raging mind into a state to bring peace.
Take out a study published on Monday . Procedure of the National Academy of Science s. The researchers used data from Danish health records for more than 940,000 children born between 1
Even though the researchers dominated parents' age and socioeconomic status, family history of mental health, urbanization, and socio-economic factors of the city (such as median income, education, and unemployment in which the child lived), green areas continued to be protective Benefits for mental health. The strongest link between green space exposure and increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder was evident for those who had lived in central Copenhagen, while the weakest was found in rural Denmark.
There are questions that the study can not answer. For example, whether people with a higher genetic risk for mental illness tend to be more dense urban areas, or whether unrecorded socioeconomic factors such as higher crime rates and lower green space could result play a role in mental health outcomes. However, this research encourages us to rethink how nature in an urban environment can improve or harm our mental health – and what we want to do about it.
Kathleen Wolf, a research-oriented social scientist at the University of Washington's School of Environmental & Forest Sciences who was not involved in the PNAS research, believes that these and other studies indicate that we need green spaces in Take cities seriously to improve the quality of life and well-being of people in everyday life.
"Can we alleviate pain and suffering through urban greening and other interventions before it happens?"
Some see trees and gardens as "beautiful, ruffled things" that we should have around us, says Wolf. Encounters with green spaces and nature, however, they see as a way to prevent mental illness or reduce it.
"Can we alleviate pain and suffering by urban greening and other interventions before it happens?" says Wolf.
It's a bold vision that sounds like it's confusing green space as a panacea for everything that hurts us, but Wolf is more realistic. She knows that Greening alone can not prevent every mental condition, but she is also confident that the design and creation of public spaces, green spaces, schools and parks can significantly improve the quality of life and emotional well-being of people. Scientific research indicates that experiencing natural environments in urban environments helps people recover from the constant, unobtrusive stress of city life.
Although the importance of green space for mental health is sometimes a hot topic, this is partly due to scientific studies not to compare with the popularity of conversations about self-care or meditation. That's because these pastimes can be customized with apps, workshops, and classes by everyone (and also as a commodified).
However, creating more green space can be bureaucratic or logistical. You need to learn who decides how to design parks in your city or how to get to green areas by public transport. This is a particularly grueling exercise for city dwellers with little time and low income. Sometimes, according to Wolf, decision-makers and managers place parks, trees or other green spaces in communities without engaging local residents to find out what makes them practical, practical and culturally relevant.
Tools such as therapy and medications can be expensive but are also critical to mental health. And given the barriers to creation and access to green spaces, it is no wonder that people see the former as one of the only options for their well-being.
With evidence of the link between nature and public health, Wolf says that professionals planning cities should create greening policies and programs so that everyone can have access to nearby nature. She believes that such features should be as important in urban planning as transportation and housing.
Another study that highlights the link between green space and mental health is a timely opportunity to remember that people are not solely responsible for promoting their own emotional and psychological wellbeing. Those planning the streets, parks, schools, and office buildings that surround us play an important, albeit indirect, role as guardians of our mental health. And we should be able to fight for our mental health by demanding what we deserve: green spaces with the potential to help everyone succeed.