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Mental Health

Nature Makes You Stronger – 30 Minutes in Nature Will Improve Your Mental Health – Research

It is always soothing when science shows that lovely things will strengthen, nourish, and secure us. Here’s one for you: new research has discovered that spending thirty minutes a week in nature will strengthen and preserve psychological wellness, as well as increase emotions of connection.

Everything we do is influenced by our mental health. It fuels our joy in life, connections, professions, and self-esteem. It is more than just a lack of mental disease, it is about understanding our own ability to survive and manage the challenges of everyday life. It also includes the capacity to be effective and offer to the community in ways that would not be possible without us.  

It’s not always simple to obtain a positive psychological state because our environment and our genes don’t always get along, but there are several things we are able to do to help it along. Relaxing in nature represents a few of these methods, and studies show that it has significant effects.

Why Our Stone-Age Brains Need a Nature Fix.

It probably comes as no surprise that having a weekly dose of nature is beneficial for our psychological well-being. We maintain our stone-age brains that were perfectly designed to survive in stone-age environments despite living modern, urban lives. If we feed our ancient minds the things they have been desiring for thousands of years, even when they are forced to adapt to today’s way of life, they can still survive.

Our brains require the things that would have been plentiful and simple for our stone-age predecessors to get in order to function at their best. This involves getting enough rest, being physically active, getting enough sunlight, being socially engaged, eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, and spending plenty of time in nature, without the challenges of urban life stressing the mind.

It is no surprise that nature is good for our minds, bodies, and spirits, but it is also becoming obvious that we need a certain amount of nature to maintain good psychological well-being. The University of Queensland (UQ) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) have conducted a study that has indicated that spending 30 minutes in nature each week has a positive impact.

So, show me the evidence.

The study, presented in the journal Scientific Reports, investigated the association between individual perceptions of nature and numerous variables such as psychological wellness, blood pressure, and social connections. 

The study included 1538 participants ranging in age from 18 to 70. It discovered that persons who spent at least thirty minutes each week on exercise were less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, or heart disease. People who explored green places more frequently had higher levels of social bonding.

‘If everybody explored their nearby parks for half an hour once a week, there would be 7% lower rates of depression and 9% lower incidents of high blood pressure.’ 

Given how important mental health is to how we think, feel, and connect with others, both personally and socially, a decrease in mental disorders will have a major impact on all of us.

Previously conducted research: ‘Yep. I warned you.’

The study expands on earlier studies that indicated similar health benefits from spending time outside.

Previous studies indicate that 30 minutes of outside gardening after a difficult task decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) and promotes a happy mood. Unexpectedly, when the exact same unpleasant task was followed by 30 minutes of inside reading, my mood worsened during the period of reading time.

Outdoor hiking has been shown to lessen depression and anxiety. Rumination is an obsessive, repetitive pattern of negative thought that can cause sadness, anxiety, binge eating, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other psychological disorders. The subgenual prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain linked to mental illness, exhibited decreased activity in people who spent 90 minutes walking around a grassland. They also reported fewer levels of rumination. These health advantages were not there in those who spent those 90 minutes walking through a city.

Therefore, outdoor activities and mental wellness go hand in hand really well. But how does that happen?

The researchers propose several ways in which green spaces may improve mental health.            

  • A green location can offer a view that is less stressful on mental resources when compared to metropolitan spaces.
  • Because there is less need for attention or focus in a green setting, it is more unlikely to cause a stress reaction.
  • Being outdoors in nature is likely to trigger the body’s own spontaneous psychological and physiological stress-reduction reactions. This will boost your mood and assist your body and mind in recovering from psychological fatigue.
  • Being outside may enhance possibilities for interaction with other people, resulting in increased sentiments of social connection and mental well-being.

And finally…

Nature offers a means of overcoming the city illness that might result from our urban existence in a world where so many of us live in cities and where our energies and focus are diverted away from the environment and towards the more artificial, technological portions of the world.

Each of us can benefit from thirty minutes of nature per week in terms of lowering mental fatigue, enhancing mental well-being, lowering signs of stress, anxiety, and depression, boosting interaction with others, and calming our weary bodies, minds, and spirits.