As many people have experienced, spending the day outside in nature just makes people feel better and improves a person’s mental health! A study done in the United States and of 18 European countries conducted by, Scientific Reports -Article number: 8903 (2021) provides evidence of the positive results.
“Living near, recreating in, and feeling psychologically connected to, the natural world is all associated with better mental health” (Scientific Reports – Dr. Matthew P. White, environmental psychologist).
To have a more positive state of well-being, make visits to green and blue spaces consistently over a four-week period of time, even just on the weekends. This can improve or enhance your current mental health state according to studies done by Scientific Reports.
Green spaces include wooded areas in all seasons, mountains, fields, meadows, being in gardens and around trees, parks, and places that provide nature walks. Blue spaces are where ever water flows or exists including water fountains, waterfalls, streams, ponds, lakes, and the ocean.
The coast does seem to be especially effective according to Dr. Catherine Kelly in her article “Blue spaces: why time spent near water is the secret of happiness” (Health and wellbeing published in the Guardian).
According to Dr. Matthew P. White, an environmental psychologist with BlueHealth, and the extensive 2013 study on happiness in natural environments the ocean has added benefits with positive measures of physical and mental wellbeing including higher levels of Vitamin D, being more mindful and therefore less stressed, less anxious, less depressed and less fixated on the negative aspects of life and increases in social interactions with others are some of the benefits found.
Dr. Catherine Kelly states that “the coast does seem to be especially effective, due to the ebb and flow of the tides”. Taking even ten minutes several times a week to walk by a body of water helps to recalibrate and enhance well-being. Dr. Kelly says that getting away 3-4 times a year and being near water can keep you from getting to a place of being overwhelmed or stressed as each time away can keep you in a better state until your next getaway.
Plan your next time outdoors for better mental health!
Vanessa Adams LMHC