City Dwellers Discover How Nature Relieves Stress
By Sandy Schroeder
Many of us live in an urban world where the sound of traffic can easily drown out the sound of the birds, but researchers say even being outside in the city can be good for us. When you head out to a city park to enjoy the trees and the birds, your mental well-being gets a boost.
I think I learned the value of being outdoors as a kid. The minute I went outside everything was better. If you have learned this, too, you may already exercise outdoors and make it a point to get outside every day.
The research supporting outdoors' health benefits was recently published in Bioscience. The study received 3,000 assessments from 108 participants, who were polled for a week to get their reactions to being outside. They were asked if they could hear birds or see trees. They were also asked if they were happy or sad and if they felt in contact with nature. The researchers found the participants reported feeling better when they were outdoors seeing trees and hearing birds.
How Nature Helps Relieve Stress
This work studying the positive effects of nature on people who live in urban areas could help city planners incorporate more aspects of nature into future housing projects.
On a personal level, this can be a reminder to anybody who lives in an urban world that nature offers a ready source of stress relief. If you are having one of those days, consider taking your lunch outside and heading to the closest park. At the end of the day, take a walk in a wooded area and let yourself mellow out.
At home, adding greenery that attracts hummingbirds might be a great idea for your patio or garden. Another possibility could be creating an outdoor room that serves as a quiet retreat for mat exercises or meditation. If the weather allows, find a good spot and fill it with potted plants and mats. Or use a balcony or patio to create a green spot. You might add window herb gardens, or plants to the bedroom to clean the air. Ask your local garden shop for potted plants that remove toxins from the air.
More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and previous studies indicate urban dwellers are at a higher risk for mental health issues. Nature’s greenery may be one more way to help city dwellers cope.
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