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How Nature benefits your Mental Health – 10 Ways

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Spending time in nature can have a profound impact on your mental health. It can psychologically restore and relax you, boost your mental resilience and increase your wellbeing, happiness and zest for life.

Not only that but it can positively impact your body-image, boost your memory, improve your focus and boost your creativity.

1. Psychologically restores you

Just 15 minutes of sitting outside in both a park or forest can psychologically restore you. A short walk can amplify this psychological restoration (higher amplification in a forest than in a park).

Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2019

nature and positive mental health
Nature for psychological restoration

2. Makes you happier

Walking 50 minutes in a city park can boost your mood.

Landscape & Human Planning, 2015

Nature boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness.

Ecopsychology, 2014

The number of nature experiences that you have is closely interlinked with your overall life satisfaction.

Scientific Reports, 2020

3. Gives you vitality

Spending time in nature can energize you in a profound way.

Vitality means that you will have more energy for the things you want to do and also you will be more resilient to physical illnesses.

Environmental Psychology, 2010

4. Relax you

Just the sound of nature can help you relax. (evident from your brain activity).

Scientific Reports, 2017

5. Boosts your mental resilience

A 90 minute walk in a city park can impact your brain in such a way that makes you more resilient to depression.

Landscape and Urban Planning, 2015

6. Boosts your memory

Your performance on a memory test can improve by almost 20% after exposure to nature.

Psychological Science, 2018

7. Improves your focus

Between 10 and 50 minutes is the sweet spot for improving your focus.

Cornell University, 2020

8. Improves your body image

Being in nature and even just looking at nature in an image can have a powerful positive effect on your body image.

Body Image, 2018

Just watching a film set in a natural environment can have the same effect.

Body Image, 2018

However, real life exposure beats exposure via technology.

Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2018

8. Enhances the functioning of your immune system

Exposure to nature switches the body into a restful state. When the body is in this state, University of Illinois environment and behavior researcher Ming Kuo says that it “invests resources toward the immune system“.

Frontiers in Psychology, 2015

8. Reduces stress

20 to 30 minutes of sitting or walking in nature looks to be the sweet spot in terms of reducing stress.

Frontiers in Psychology, 2019

As little as 10 minutes of exposure, can also have an impact.

Cornell University, 2020

9. Promotes a higher psychological wellbeing

Two hours exposure per week is what is necessary to achieve overall good health and high psychological wellbeing.

University of Exeter, 2019

Health benefits include a reduced risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.

University of East Anglia, 2018

10. Increases your creativity

Four days of immersion in creativity can boost your creativity by up to 50%. (Disconnection to technology is mandatory)

Plos One, 2012

By now I hope I have proven to you the mental benefits that exposure to nature can give you. Interacting with nature can reduce stress and anxiety, decrease blood pressure and over time build up your resilience to mental illness. These beneficial effects of natural environments can be amplified if combined with physical activity. Spending time in nature is a must for anyone in 2020.

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General health freak extraordinaire obsessed with health research and optimal health performance. Note, I have other loves in my life, these include travel, good coffee, red wine, films & yoga.

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