Posted on Sep 02, 2019, 2 p.m.
According to a recent study if you live in a big city you should try to find a place close to a park or some type of nature reserve, as living within walking distance of an urban green space is associated with improved feeling of self worth, happiness, and overall life satisfaction.
Connections between natural green areas and mental well-being were investigated, findings indicate living close to nature and greenery is more relevant to mental health than that of income level, employment, and overall health.
People generally feel better after being outdoors and experiencing some nature and green foliage, this study investigated how much is needed and how close it needs to be to a home for it to have a positive impact on mental health; geospatial research techniques were applied to gauge the relationship between green views of nature and 3 aspects of mental well-being: life satisfaction, happiness, and self worth.
“We believe this it is the first study to demonstrate how urban green spaces may improve a broader definition of mental wellbeing,” comments Dr. Victoria Houlden in a media release.“A lot of research focuses on poor mental health, or single aspects of wellbeing like life satisfaction. What makes our work different is the way we consider multi-dimensional mental wellbeing, in terms of happiness, life satisfaction and worth.”
Data was collected on 25,518 people who participated in London’s Annual Population Survey and it was combined with data on 20,000 public green spaces, allowing the team to explore how much proximity to greenery influenced mental well-being of the participants.
Relationships were found between the amount of greenery there was near a person’s home and their mental health; green spaces within 300 meters of the home had the biggest impact. An increase of under 2.5 acres of greenery with 300 meters of the home was associated with an 8% point increase in life satisfaction, 7% increase in self worth, and 5% increase in happiness, according to the researchers.
“This result has important implications for urban planning and decision making related to how we measure access to urban green spaces and how to design more sustainable and liveable cities,” explains Professor João Porto de Albuquerque, director of the University of Warwick’s Institute of Global Sustainable Development.
As published in the journal Applied Geography, the research teams from The University of Sheffield and The University of Warwick hopes their findings will be taken into consideration by city planners and policy makers in the future for creation of additional green spaces in cities and other urban areas.
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