“Exposure to nature and greenery makes people healthier.”
It may not be easy with the pressures of everyday life to find time to get outside and use green spaces such as our gardens, however the benefits of doing so have been extensively studied and are certainly worthwhile. Many people spend their days in front of a computer screen, often under fluorescent lights, only to return home to relax in the glow of a television screen or smartphone. An ever-growing body of research suggests the nearby nature of our lawns and gardens aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, mere contact with the natural world improves physical and psychological health.
Here are six reasons to spend more time in your garden – your green space:
1. De-stressing Effects
Being outdoors can reduce the effects of stress on the body. The scent of flowers, pine and freshly cut grass can help you feel calm and more relaxed. It’s science - we really should stop and smell the roses!
2. Builds Up Immune System
According to some scientists, when you breathe in “phytoncides” (a chemical released into the air from plants, trees, vegetables and grasses), it increases levels of white blood cells, essential for fighting off infection and disease.
3. Eases Depression and Anxiety
The benefits extend to psychological health. It is suggested that the effects of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can be eased when spending time in nature – especially when combined with exercise, making gardening a great therapeutic activity. One study found that green environments help to improve both self-esteem and mood.
4. Enhances Creativity
Creativity isn’t just about things of artistic nature; it also includes problem-solving, the way you perform tasks, and how you approach challenges. Research has found that spending more time in green areas and less time with technology has boosted the performance of creative tasks by up to 50%.
5. Improves Focus
As being in nature is restorative, leaving the office to go outside for even just a few minutes is shown to have great attention restoration effects. Further, spending only 20 minutes a day outside has shown to help improve the concentration of children who experience difficulties managing their attention – and the greener a child’s play area, the less severe the symptoms.
According to psychologists, exposure to the natural world can relieve mental pressures, which in turn can help you value the more important things: this can result in feeling more content and positive, which in this high-pressured world can be really beneficial.
The science shows that it’s important to make time for ourselves in outdoor green spaces, helping us to feel refreshed and revived. Nature has a strong calming effect on the mind; spending time in the garden as we take in the air, listen to the sound of birds and pay attention to the colours and textures around us will help us live in the moment. It doesn’t matter what outdoor activities you enjoy or if you can only make a little time, the moments experienced in nature can help lift your mood and improve physical and mental wellbeing.