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How Nature is Good for our health and happiness, review

There are a growing number of studies and campaigns that provide evidence that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier, something that nature lovers would argue with some of us.

And now a recent assessment of the UK's first month-long nature challenge, which took last year and involved people doing "something wild every day" for 30 consecutive days, shows scientifically and statistically how important it really is.

Naturally, we knew that nature was good for us as humans, but the results were spectacular

At the time of the challenge, participants were asked to participate in a survey about their perceived relationship with nature and feeling a part of it; How he interacted with nature, and how he felt about his health and happiness before the challenge began and two months after the challenge ended.

The analysis is published in the PLOS One Journal.

The study was conducted by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trust to try and quantify the impact of last year's "30 Days Wild" campaign run by the charity.

"Instinctively we knew that nature was as good for us as humans, but the results were spectacular," said Lucy McRobert, nature matters to expedition managers for wildlife trusts.

The study showed that there was a scientifically significant increase in people's health, happiness, nature, and active nature behaviors, such as feeding birds and planting flowers for bees - not only during the challenge but months after the challenge.

Planting Flowers for Bees (Credit: Andy Jones / The Wildlife Trust)

Planting of flowers for bees and other nature activities continued even after the challenge was over (Credit: Andy Jones / The Wildlife Trusts)

Impressively, says Macrobart, there has been a 30% increase in the number of people reporting their health as "excellent" and that improvement in health is predicted by an increase in happiness, a relationship that ties to nature Is mediated by changes in This adds to the growing body of evidence that definitely shows that we need nature for our health and wellbeing.

For example, children exposed to the natural world showed increased self-esteem. He also felt that he taught them how to take risks, exposed their creativity, and gave them the opportunity to exercise, play, and explore. In some cases, nature may significantly improve symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), provide a calming effect and help to concentrate.

And for people suffering from physical illness or mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, interacting with nature can help people to control or even recover their symptoms, along with traditional medicine.

"Nature is not the miracle of diseases," says Macrobart, but by interacting with it, spending time in it, experiencing it, and appreciating it, we can reap the benefits of feeling happy and healthy as a result of it. "

Healthy lifestyle

The head of psychology at the University of Derby, Drs. Miles Richardson conducted the study and stated that the results are important, both statistically and from an applied standpoint. It was a large-scale intervention, they say, with over 18,500 people committing nearly 300,000 random acts of "wildness", which were taken not as a public health intervention, but as a fun campaign.

Challenge with simple and fun activities (Credit: Matthew Roberts / The Wildlife Trust)

Last year's 30 Day Wild was a massive challenge with simple and fun activities (Credit: Matthew Roberts / The Wildlife Trust)

"Design and evaluation took a proven approach in evaluating such a scale, this is an important step."

Dr. According to Richardson, there is already research evidence that exposure to nature can reduce hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), respiratory tract and cardiovascular diseases; Improve vitality and mood; Issues of mental well-being benefits such as anxiety; And restore meditative ability and mental fatigue. But more than this, feeling a part of nature has been shown to be significantly correlated with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, temperament, and low cognitive anxiety.

"These correlations are of a similar magnitude to those found among other variables such as marital and education, who have a good marriage and education relationships."

Recent analysis, he said, found that people with a stronger relationship to nature experienced positive affect, vitality, at levels associated with perceived predictors of life satisfaction, positive affect, and life satisfaction.

"There is a need to normalize everyday nature as part of a healthy lifestyle," Dr. Richardson told BBC Earth. The real challenge for the future is what we do about the very real benefits of nature, knowing how we will engage more people.


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