Keep it Green

Claire HarrisClaire Harris's" picture

By Claire Harris

Fri May 17 2024

Claire Harris's" picture

How did you relax over the weekend. We took a family camping trip to a farm with a group of families, and this got me thinking about the mental health benefits of green space.

I always look forward to this annual trip, as it’s a break away, a catch up with good friends, but more than that, as soon as we set up outside, I feel instantly relaxed. The company helps, the fresh air helps, the lack of phone signal is a bonus, but more than this, the benefits of green space are huge.

Research shows that exposure to green environments stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for relaxation and recovery. Green space boosts serotonin and dopamine levels leading to positive emotions and wellbeing. It can reduce feelings of anxiety, anger and frustration. Getting outside also promotes physical activity, which is known to have positive effects on mental health.

An Australian study shows that as little as 30 minutes in outdoor green spaces once a week can lead to a reduction in depressive symptoms. Also research from Japan across 24 different forests shows nature can decrease heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol.

How can we build this into our very busy lifestyles?

  • Commute to work by walking or cycling
  • Take a walk outside at lunchtime
  • Join a team sport like football or netball
  • Take a trip to a local park
  • Run outside or join a running club
  • Get off the bus a stop early and walk

However you build green space into your day remember the benefits on physical and mental health.

  • Green Space
  • Mental Health
  • Self-Care
  • Stress Reduction