Forests, meadows, fields, flowers, and wide-open spaces serve a great purpose to our mental health compared to being cooped up inside. According to the Bureau of Labor, Americans spend 2.8 hours watching television which can increase insomnia, depression, fatigue, and isolation. The World Health Organization says the 3.3% of deaths is from lack of walking and recreational access. Being surrounded by nature, on the other hand, can make great improvements on your mental and physical health.
There are a number of reasons why we tend to feel better when we are in green spaces. Psychoevolutionary Theory states that because our ancestors used outdoor resources in order to survive, a part of us subconsciously feels a connection towards nature. Another reason could be Attention Restoration Theory where nature redirects our attention away from the complicatedness of life and improves our mental state. There is also a bacteria called mycobacterium vaccae in soil that can make a higher release of neurotransmitter serotonin, causing a maintenance of positive mood and helps protect against depression. A hallucinogenic substance called entheogens occurs in all plants and promotes a positive mental state.
There are many benefits that come with green spaces. The outdoors make it easier to relax and get physical activity. Trees produce oxygen and filter out the harmful air pollution. Lakes, rivers, and fountains help moderate temperatures. With wide open spaces available, you would have the opportunity to get physically active which will mild depression and reduce physiological stress. Compared to walking around the mall or a supermarket, walking where there are trees around can lower frustration and increased meditative brain activity. You also become more happy when you walk as your serotonin levels start increasing.
When you are stressed for a long time, you have great chances of getting sick and having immune system issues. If your initial stress levels are high, exposure to trees, grass, and flowers can help reduce it. Focusing on errands and responsibilities we need to accomplish can tend to cause a cognitive overload, making you become irritable and unable to function well. Nature settings can relax you from the things that tend to occupy your mind such as school and work. If you ever feel the need to take a break from the chaos that life may bring, explore your outdoor surroundings by taking a walk, do deep breathing, or sitting down and taking a breath.
Page created: 22 April, 2020 Last updated and clinically assessed 26 March, 2021