Five Minutes with Nature Can Boost Mental Health


Just 5 minutes doing something in a park, in the woods or even in your backyard can boost mental health, a new study finds.

Many studies have shown that spending active time in the great outdoors is good for the mind. Humans have a deep-seated need for contact with nature, which researchers theorize provides relaxing down time for a brain that is otherwise overtaxed by modern pressures.

But how much time is required?

Researchers studied data on 1,252 people drawn from 10 separate studies in the UK. They analyzed activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming. The largest positive effect on self-esteem came from a five-minute dose, they conclude.

“For the first time in the scientific literature, we have been able to show dose-response relationships for the positive effects of nature on human mental health,” said University of Essex researcher Jules Pretty.

Other scientists have suggested that, in general,humans should play more, tapping into need for lightheartedness that goes back to our caveman days.

In the new study, the greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally-ill, although people of all ages and social groups benefited. All natural environments were beneficial, including parks in urban settings. Green areas with water were even more beneficial, the scientists said.

“We believe that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with green exercise,” said co-researcher Jo Barton.

The findings are detailed in American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Azaleas- Toledo Botanical Gardens 1 May 2010

3 thoughts on “Five Minutes with Nature Can Boost Mental Health

  1. i accept that, M_R…I, my family, and friends have long communicated with nature, it seems to me…Believe me, there is nothing like a Montana sunrise or sunset to cure the ills of an “heat oppressed brain”, or working to get a boat tied up and covered at the dock on Vineyard Lake as a storm approaches, or climbing Pikes Peak. Indeed, with all the daily pressures on us, we both said the the other day it was time for a “road trip”, lol

    Speaking of communing with nature, here in Mississippi the last two Sundays we have had enough of Mother Nature. There have been 14 killed by tornadoes in the State, 10 in a town about 45 miles northwest of us, Yazoo City. You know, Haley’s home town.
    Now Haley wants the Federal Government to send all kinds of disaster assistance, emergency workers, food, social welfare people and MONEY to Mississippi. And, now of course, he is wanting the same assistance for the oil spill coming ashore on the Gulf Coast. HOw about that, M_R. He doesnt want stimulus money, but by God send money NOW. You know, if the situation wasn’t so dire, if I were President, tell you what Haley, Pindal, Alabama Governor, and Rubio….go fly a kite….Let the teabaggers suck on that for a while!

  2. Oh, so that’s that environment thingie they’re always going on about…hmm, nice.

    Seriously, UTF, that’s the damned hypocrisy of it all. Now they’ll bitch that he didn’t send enough money fast enough. Too bad Arizona doesn’t have a coastline. Hasn’t Texas been blabbering about seccession?
    If they did, who would they be expecting foreign aid from? Mexico?
    I’m sure Hugo Chavez would just love to help them out.

  3. and another one…
    Actualy, I really agree with Mudrakes post. Biking, gardening, walking, playing…maybe someday, I will finally finish with this long drawn out adolescence, but not today.
    I have some of my best ideas on my bike.

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