1.Nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being.

2.Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues may all be eased by some time in the great outdoors — especially when that's combined with exercise.

3. We know the natural environment is "restorative," and one thing that a walk outside can restore is your waning attention.

 

 A recent report from Natural England  (University of Essex )  shows that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental health problems and can contribute reducing levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. Mental ill-health is on the rise and in England it is estimated that in any one year at least 1 in 4 people will experience a ‘significant’ mental health problem. The new report suggests that green care interventions can provide an increasingly important and cost-effective way of supporting mental health services.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The report focuses on the 3 main green care interventions that are currently helping people in England who have mental ill-health: care farming; environmental conservation;  social and therapeutic horticulture. The report presents evidence that shows that projects in each of these areas are already making a difference to people’s lives and bring a range of positive benefits for those with existing mental ill health. These include a reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and an improvement in dementia-related symptoms.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The report also shows that people involved in these types of green care activities have a greatly increased level of social contact and inclusion; as well as a sense of belonging and personal achievement.

 

Peter James and a team at Harvard University published a study into the relationship between exposure to green spaces and mortality rates. They studied 100,000 female nurses living across the US over an eight-year period and found that those living in the greenest areas had a 12 percent lower mortality rate compared with those living in the most built-up areas. To find out what factors might explain this, they collected information on doctor-diagnosed depression and antidepressant medication. Improved mental health, measured through lower levels of depression, was estimated to explain nearly 30 percent of the benefit from living around green spaces.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

"We weren't expecting the magnitude [of the results]," says Peter. "That there's a direct cognitive benefit and restorative quality of being in nature, that we've evolved in nature to enjoy being in nature."

Whatever the weather, however small or urban the garden, the gardener is made mindful of the here and now. Having your hands in the dirt and repeating tasks such as weeding or planting focuses your energy and allows you the freedom to escape the normal background noise of thoughts and feelings."( Ed Harkness)

 

COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Dalina Perzefi. 

 

REFERENCES:

 https://www.vice.com/sv/article/ppveky/why-is-nature-actually-good-for-your-mental-health

http://www.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature-outdoors-2016-4?IR=T/#2-restored-mental-energy-2

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/connecting-with-nature-offers-a-new-approach-to-mental-health-care