Another study highlights the power of nature for human health. The beneficial effects of nature on mental health are in the research entitled “Urban mind: using smartphone technologies to investigate nature’s impact on mental well-being in real time”.
Today more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this has had several consequences. Among the bad ones we can mention the implications for mental health, such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis and vicious disorders. It was based on this assumption that researchers created the Urban Mind application. They assessed the influence of green areas for those who live in urban spaces. The main analysis was based on 2094 assessments by 64 participants, who completed a minimum of 25 assessments each.
To analyse the so-called momentary well-being, participants had to answer questions such as: Are you in or out? (in relation to indoor or outdoor environment) Can you see the trees? Can you see the sky? Can you hear the birds singing? Can you see or hear the water? Do you feel in touch with nature? The possible answers to each question were: yes, no and I am not sure.
When people received a notice to complete a momentary ecological assessment, they had up to 30 minutes to complete responses. And each time he completed an assessment, he was invited to send a photograph of the soil and / or an audio recording of the environment.
Research suggests that nature’s benefits on mental well-being are long-lasting and interact with an individual’s vulnerability to mental illness. “We found that being outdoors, seeing trees, listening to birds singing, seeing the sky and feeling in touch with nature were associated with higher levels of momentary mental well-being,” says the study. “Furthermore, we found that these beneficial effects can still be seen, even if the participant was no longer outdoors and no longer had access to nature.” This effect indicates the lasting impact of nature on the mental quality of the individual.
Another interesting fact is that all these benefits were even more evident in people who have a characteristic of being more impulsive. The study draws on other research that links impulsivity with disorders. The point here is to state that the effects of nature can be even greater in people who are more vulnerable to mental health problems.
The group points out that such findings have potential implications for urban planning and design. The study is from King’s College London and was published in the January issue of BioScience.