- In honor of this month’s World Health Day and Earth Day, we bring you resources about nature’s benefits on mental health.
- We also round up some resources on how to deal with anxious feelings about climate change.
- Bottom line? The greener we are, the happier we tend to be!
If you ever doubted the mental health benefits of being close to nature, you need look no further than recent research on green spaces and the Covid-19 pandemic. Population studies show that people who lived near green spaces during the pandemic fared better mentally than people with limited access to nature. They had fewer coronavirus-related worries and they experienced less depression.
Green spaces like urban parks and blue spaces like lakes and shorelines act as tonics for depression and anxiety. They are the psychotropic medicine that all humans need, making them a public health issue. Parks have even been called “pro-mental health infrastructure.” They promote positive behaviors like exercise, and they also serve to protect and enhance our emotional well-being. Research also shows that children who grow up in greener neighborhoods have fewer psychiatric disorders as adults.
Our connection to nature is so important that Thriveworks has covered it again and again on the blog. And since both World Health Day and Earth Day land in the month of April, we wanted to offer some further reading to highlight the impact of green and blue spaces on our gray matter.
- Green spaces and home gardening: Caring, cultivating, and coming to terms with impermanence
- Let’s hear it for the forest state of mind: Nature therapy and forest medicine
- Thriveworks video: Children surrounded by more green space have up to a 55% lower risk of developing a mental illness as an adult
- Thriveworks video: Living near trees promotes better mental health
- Thriveworks video: What are the benefits of spending time outdoors during COVID-19?
- Thriveworks video: Spending just 20 minutes in the park can make you happier
But nature in the 21st century is under threat from climate change. We cannot underestimate the effects of extreme heat, eco-anxiety, and ecological grief on our green-loving psyches. So Thriveworks has also given you resources to bolster you mentally for the battles ahead:
- Human psychology and a burning planet: How to harness your ecological grief and eco-anxiety to fight climate change
- Coping with climate anxiety and extreme heat: A field guide
Finally, we compiled a few nature-adjacent blogs for you to browse.
- Did you know that Walt Disney World intentionally capitalizes on flowers, water features, ambient beauty, and color psychology to keep guests coming back?
- Grief camps for kids incorporate nature’s healing power into their programs.
- Wild animals lose microbiome diversity when they go into captivity.
- Cute, fluffy, genetically-engineered doggies are part of nature too, right? Here’s why humans and their companion animals have such deep bonds.
We are all creatures of our environment. The greener we are, the happier we tend to be. Help make our planet beautiful. Happy Earth Day!