Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

The Mental Benefits of Green Spaces

We all know that going outside is considered good for you. Or at least most of us do! We’ve all had days where we felt dreary and overwhelmed, but were offered some reprieve by a walk through a park, or even just in our own backyards. There’s no denying that spending a little time outdoors is a great way to feel at least a little better. These benefits aren’t just in your head (or maybe they are, and that’s the point)! Many studies have been done over the years that have shown that green spaces have a tremendous impact on our mental health, and can even improve our coping mechanisms to very real mental disorders. Check out some the many mental benefits of green spaces…

Natural Environments - The Mental Benefits of Green Spaces

Helps Productivity

Green spaces and natural environments help us clear our mind and focus more on what matters. Whether you are focusing on an external task or simply self-reflecting, spending time in nature greatly improves your ability to succeed. Several studies have shown that simply having plants in your field of vision helps improve your memory and hones your ability to focus. This is paired with a decrease in depressive thoughts that impact your ability to fulfill tasks. It’s actually for this reason that many businesses nowadays are opting to include more green spaces in their office buildings, as it enables a better working environment.

Reduces Crime in Neighborhoods

A study conducted in Youngstown, Ohio between 2010 and 2014 showed that an increase in the amount of trees in urban neighborhoods was directly correlated to a decrease in the amount of crime. This is why cities across the country are working to establish more green spaces in neighborhoods that struggle with high unemployment and deindustrialization. During the Ohio study, the amount of drug-related crimes fell nearly 10% in areas that were upgraded with an increase in trees, versus neighborhoods without those same upgrades.

Green Area - The Mental Benefits of Green Spaces

Increases Social Interaction

People have a tendency to gather in natural, green areas. Saturday afternoons find most parks filled with people from around the neighborhood. Because of this, green spaces have the ability to increase and stimulate social interaction between people in an area. It’s important for human beings to have an outlet of socialization, and natural environments create another possibility to have that. In addition to helping individuals, this also creates tighter communities that are more open to each other, and everyone could use more neighbors that you actually talk to!

Increases Physical Activity

People tend to be more active during months where weather is warmer (or at least moderate). Nature inspires people to take bike rides, take hikes, play sports, swim, and do a whole assortment of physical activities. When people are more active, it helps balance brain chemistry because your body produces more endorphins, which is good-feeling chemical that helps you feel more relaxed and positive. Endorphins also enable us to reduce stress. That, coupled with the effects of a natural, calming environment, create a great boon to mental health.

Mental Green Space - The Mental Benefits of Green Spaces

Reduces the Rate of Depression

Depression is currently the number one cause of illness and disability around the world, with hundreds of millions of people estimated to be suffering from some form of clinical depression. It’s worth examining the ways that we can reduce the effects and impact that depression has on us as individuals.

Simply spending time in nature has been shown to reduce the effects of depression, which may be due to a variety of reasons. First of all, it’s been shown to be easier to control breathing levels outdoors, and spending time in daylight increases the production of serotonin, a happy-feeling chemical in the brain that stymies depression. Even looking at a picture of nature can contribute to decreasing the effects of depression, and being in it is that much stronger. As depression easily leads to more mental health problems, such as addiction, it’s essential to counter it wherever possible.

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