Why nature makes you feel good according to science

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February 22, 2021
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Why nature makes you feel good according to science

Those who cuddle trees and walk regularly in the forest already know: nature refocuses.

Besides that, studies showing the benefits of nature on well-being are increasing. Produced in fields as varied as medicine, psychology or cognitive sciences, they demonstrate that the ancient intuition that nature does us good is very real.

Here are some additional arguments to go green.

1.Because nature makes it possible to age better

Visiting public parks during childhood and adulthood can slow the cognitive decline of the elderly, explains a study published in January 2018 in Social Science & Medicine, conducted in Scotland among septuagenarians around the landscapes they have frequented since their childhood. Another study, also carried out among Scots, shows that people living near green places have a death rate 16% lower than their more urban neighbors.

2. Because nature reduces stress, improves mood and self-esteem

Being outside and roaming in the open reduces stress and depression. In Sweden, on the Alnarp university campus, stress-related pathologies (burn-out) and stroke are treated in a rehabilitation garden. The therapy is reimbursed by Social Security. Contact with nature, the sight of trees, the sky, hearing birds would even contribute to mental well-being immediately and several hours later – especially in the most impulsive people, shows this study conducted on 108 people living in urban environments and published in 2018 in BioScience. According to another study, doing physical things (sport, walking, gathering, naturalistic observation, etc.) in nature improves both self-esteem and mood, especially in the mentally ill. In addition, pregnant women in regular contact with nature have lower blood pressure.

3. Because nature reduces the risk of chronic diseases and makes you sleep better

This is what researchers at the University of East Anglia deduced from a study published in Environmental Research in July 2018 using data from more than 140 studies on more than 290 million people. This meta-analysis shows that exposure to green spaces significantly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, premature birth, stress and high blood pressure for people in regular contact with greenery. improves their chances of being healthy and getting better sleep. The data came from 20 countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Australia and Japan.

4. Because the trees would boost our defenses

Research in Japan suggests that phytoncides (molecules with antibacterial properties in particular) expelled by trees may explain the beneficial properties of tree baths, including the manufacture of anti-cancer proteins and revitalization of the immune system.

5. Because nature makes you move

People living near trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or addicted to antidepressants, according to a 2016 report by 11 researchers at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), who reported based on over 200 studies. They also showed that living near the green has benefits for the development of children: their risk of developing allergies or behavioral problems is reduced.

6. Because nature improves memory, attention and concentration

A study published in 2017 and carried out on more than 2,500 children aged 6 to 10 in Barcelona shows that schoolchildren who are in regular contact with nature have a slightly higher working memory and attention than those who do not. Another study published in 2008 shows the same thing in adults.

7. Because “wild” activities make us happy and reconnect us to our true nature

In a context of loss of biodiversity and expansion of urbanization, a major part of the population is cut off from nature. This is what scientists call ‘extinction of experience‘, or loss of human-nature interactions, which not only diminishes health and wellness benefits, but also discourages positive emotions, attitudes and behaviors.  Fortunately, this can be remedied! A study in Plos One looked at 18,500 volunteers who had to do “something wild” every day for 30 consecutive days: planting flowers for bees, feeding birds, etc. They also had to express their feelings of connection to nature, health and happiness. The number of people reporting “excellent” health increased by 30%, along with feelings of happiness and connection with nature. The connection to nature is self-sustaining!

8. Because it reduces medical cost

If everything that nature brings us in terms of well-being is immeasurable, some have tried to quantify it. According to a May 2016 report produced by economists for the National Union of Landscape Companies, “green spaces reduce the prevalence of many diseases and are consequently accompanied by less demand on the healthcare system, and therefore savings for Health Insurance ”. And for a 10% increase in the density of green spaces, the authors estimate the reduction in medical costs at 56 million euros per year due to the reduction in the prevalence of asthma, and at 38 million euros per year due to the reduction in the prevalence of hypertension.

9. Because it’s beautiful!

About the author, Manon Marchand-Aylsworth: Manon is a professional life, wellness and nutrition coach and a NY State licensed wilderness guide. She is the Founder and CEO of Bonjour Delight LLC, the founder of Escape Hiking and The Warrior Program. She believes that wilderness and physical challenges are the best tools to deeply empower individuals and change her clients’ mindset and life.

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