7 WAYS GREEN ENVIRONMENT BOOSTS MENTAL HEALTH: SUNDAY MIRROR

A very happy world environment day….

Nature is our cradle. Our affinity towards nature is genetic and deep-rooted in evolution. For example, have you ever thought why most people like to have a great natural view from the balcony or the terrace? Why patients having a view of nature from their hospital bed recover sooner? Or why we feel a mental cooling effect when we see a garden? Or why does it happen when we are stressed we take time to figure out things amidst nature?

But now things have changed.  Both nature and other species suffer from the strain caused by the massive human population, which is rising rapidly. It is the primary cause of the environment pollution. Slowly and steadily we are going away from nature.

As the greeneries around us decrease, both our mental and physical health face huge challenges. It causes continuous and relentless rise of greenhouse gases driving climate change, the acidification of the oceans, and shortages of fresh water.

Our brain undergoes several steps of maturation after birth. The development of brain depends upon both genetic and environmental factors. The nature boosts our mental and physical health.

How nature shapes mental health

Decreases mental fatigue

We all feel relaxed when we go for a walk in a park after a days work. Several researches have confirmed the fact of decrease in mental fatigue due to studies and work. It increases our efficiency and performance substantially. (1)

How does nature help in brain development?

Contact with nature helps children to develop cognitive, emotional, and behavioral connections to their nearby social and biophysical environments. Experiences with nature are important for encouraging imagination and creativity, cognitive and intellectual development and social relationships. So let the child play in a park for sometimes everyday. (2)

Nature Improves memory

Outdoor activities can help alleviate symptoms of Alzheimers dementia. Nature helps in emotional regulation and improves memory functions. A research found that people who took a walk along nature did better on memory tests than the subjects who walked down the urban streets. Along with it boosts immunity and decreases inflammation. (3)

Reduces stress and fights depression

Staying outdoor reduces stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol along with regulating blood pressure. A study was conducted to see the effects of connection with nature in stress. Each participant observed visuals of either a natural landscape or an urban environment randomly. The people viewed nature were having less stress scores. (4)

Helps in physical exercise

Green spaces provide necessary places and opportunities for physical activity. Exercise is a boon for both physical and mental health. (Link)

Nature Improves self esteem

Nature in Urban areas consisting parks and walkways incorporated into building design, provides calming and inspiring environments and encourages learning, inquisitiveness and alertness. It increases positivity and helps us to improve our self esteem. (5)

Decreases hyperactivity in children and helps in focusing

Walks among nature and other outdoor activities build attention and focus. Many studies reveal strong environmental connections to be related to better performance, heightened concentration, decrease fickleness. Symptoms of  ADHD in children can be reduced through activity in green settings. (6)

We need nature for our body and brain. That’s why we need  Green space in every rural or urban setting. Everyday we need to spend some time in the lap of nature (green time). Both adults and children need green time at work or school for better mental ability and function.

Excessive stress is a new epidemic. It may be workplace stress, study and career related stress or covid-19 anxiety. It’s primary cause of many neurological and psychiatric diseases.

The ecotherapy by green environment is a very good solution to many of our problems. Make a routine to take a walk to your nearest green space everyday at least for half an hour it can save you from many dreaded diseases of brain.

Greeneries can save us from many mental illness. So let’s pledge to plant a tree in this environment day.

Please read and share

References

1: Kaplan, S. 1995. The Restorative Benefits of Nature: Toward An Integrative Framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology 15, 3: 169-182.

2: Heerwagen, J.H., and G.H. Orians. 2002. The ecological world of children. In: Kahn, P.H.J., and S.R. Kellert (eds.), Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, and Evolutionary Investigations. MIT Press, Cambridge MA, pp. 29-64.

3: Berman MG, Jonides J, Kaplan S. The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological science. 2008 Dec;19(12):1207-12.

4: Ulrich RS, Simons RF, Losito BD, Fiorito E, Miles MA, Zelson M. Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments. Journal of environmental psychology. 1991 Sep 1;11(3):201-30.

5:Krause, N., and B.A. Shaw. 2000. Giving Social Support to Others, Socioeconomic Status, and Changes in Self-Esteem in Late Life. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 55, 6: S323.

6:Taylor, A.F., and F.E. Kuo. 2009. Children with Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park. Journal of Attention Disorders 12, 5: 402-09.

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