A new study shows just how important nature is to mental health

Shutterstock.com/ Akhenaton Images

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

It is not easy to live a healthy life. It appears that every day there is some new vitamin people need to take or some new superfood that we should have been eating since birth. There are reports that we should be running every day and contradictory reports that say running is terrible for you. There are reports that say you need to have a job that pushes you to be happy and that if you are pushed too much in your job you will never be happy. There is advice that says the key to happiness is to never focus on it and there is advice that says to be happy you must make it your only goal in life. It can be frustrating. Yet when you remove the clutter and get rid of the noise there are some things we should all be doing. Eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and spending time away from technology and in the outdoors. Do these four things and I promise you that you will be happy and healthy and that you can ignore all those other nonsense stories that try to get you to buy something.

- Advertisement -

One of the most important things in life that often goes ignored is the importance of nature. We spend so much time either in our homes, in traffic, or in the office that we often neglect nature. The impact that a short amount of time spent in nature can have on your well being can not be overstated. It could turn a terrible week into a pleasant one. It could save you from depression and anxiety.

While everyone may be used to hearing that nature is good for you it is only now that we are starting to understand just how good it is for you and just how much you need. It is great to say that nature is important but we can’t all go live in the woods. So how much time do we need to spend in nature before we start to see benefits?

According to a recent study, the magic number is two hours. If you can spend just 120 minutes in nature every week then it will have a massive impact on your mental health and well being. These 120 minutes do not have to be spent all in one trip but they can be. You could go to the beach for two hours on the weekend or you could walk through your local woods for 30 minutes four times a week. Whatever way you can get your 120 minutes, it doesn’t matter. There are no “better” forms of nature either. While it may be great to meditate on the peak of Mount Everest for two hours every week we are happy if you can simply go for a stroll in a park once in a while.
The great thing about the findings of this study is how achievable they are. The study was also statistically significant across all demographics. It didn’t matter whether you were young or old, wealthy or poor, black or white, physically fit, mentally disabled, or suffering from a disease. Nature doesn’t discriminate, it benefits everyone.

The study appears to suggest that we may have been neglecting a key part of our well being. While most people are aware that they need to eat well and have a grasp on how well they need to eat each week, there have been no clear guidelines on nature. While people are advised to sleep seven hours every night there has been no advice provided on nature. Now there is. Spend 120 minutes in nature every week and you will see positive results or your money back (oh wait, nature is free!)