You might have a sneaking suspicion that natural environments are good for you, but is there any evidence to back this up? Well yes, actually, and the results from a growing body of research are beginning to shed light on how our natural spaces can affect our health and wellbeing.
A recent study has found that people living in urban areas with more parks and gardens report greater wellbeing than city dwellers who don’t have so called green spaces nearby.
Using data that followed 10,000 people in the UK between 1991 and 2008, the research from the University of Exeter Medical School has shown that individuals report less mental distress and higher life satisfaction when they are living in greener areas.
Importantly researchers have been able to quantify this effect, ranking it alongside ‘big hitting’ life events, such as marriage. Dr Mathew White led the study, which is published in the journal Psychological Science, and said:
“These kinds of comparisons are important for policymakers trying to decide how to invest scarce public resources. While the effect for any one person might be small, the potential positive effects of green space for society at large could be substantial.”