Living Near Green Spaces Can Have Social And Cognitive Health Benefits
I’ve always found it soothing to my mind and my soul whenever I went to a park for a walk or whenever I decided to have a picnic in my garden. Now, I learn that spending time in or near green spaces can have social, psychological, and cognitive benefits.
In a study conducted by Boston University, it was found that people living near green spaces reported better cognitive performance, especially among middle-aged women participants. Further, living near green spaces was also associated with a lower rate of depression and a low risk for dementia.
The study lead, Dr. Marcia Pescador Jimenez said,
“Some of the ways that nature may improve health is by helping people recover from psychological stress and by encouraging people to be outside socializing with friends, both of which boost mental health,”
Scientifically, you breathe more oxygen when you’re in or near green spaces, gardens, or parks. Not only being neat green spaces can help you improve your physical health but can also help your cognitive functions and improve social relationships.
In this blog, let’s explore the many psychological benefits of green spaces and how well they can impact our social, physical, and cognitive health.
How Green Spaces Impact Our Living?
Out of the many positive effects of green spaces, parks, and gardens, there are many that focus on psychological disorders such as depression, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. When you spend time living near green spaces, you also experience better sleep quality, low stress, more happiness, low negative thoughts and feelings, better social relationships, and a general increase in your overall well-being.
Did you know that living near green spaces can also boost your cognitive abilities such as thinking, memory, attention, and creativity?
When you incorporate regular bird watching activities, hiking, forest bathing, and even beach-walking in your daily routine, you can keep stress, anxiety, and poor health conditions such as diabetes and heart problems away.
On a different note, setting up urban green spaces can be a great step toward making your health your priority. Green spaces can absorb harmful toxins and pollutants. Not only does this benefit your physical health but also your mental health. There is evidence that says that exposure to toxic air pollutants can negatively affect your central nervous system and cause psychological conditions such as depression. Also, urban green spaces can reduce noise pollution, improve your sleep quality and lower your stress.
The Psychological Benefits Of Green Spaces
There are advantages and disadvantages of green spaces. On one hand, it can help prevent heart disorders and severe psychological disorders, and increase mortality, but on the other hand, it can worsen existing allergies or might trigger them.
However, the advantages of green spaces are more than the disadvantages, and that can be seen in the frequent field trips and walks in the park that has time and again proved to reduce stress and help unwind.
In the last two years of the pandemic, this research was put to test when disorders such as depression and anxiety increased and people found solace in nature.
Let’s look at the many benefits living near green spaces can have on our life:
1.Helps Reduce Stress
When you’re stressed, there are a lot of things going on in your head and it’s normal. Spending time in green spaces can help here. Just a quick trip to your nearest park or spending a few minutes breathing the air in your garden can help you reset your stress response. Once you can control your stress response, you can easily find the source of stress, and eliminate it. Even forest bathing therapy is associated with lower cortisol levels.
2.Helps Promote Physical Activity
If I ask you to work out in a gym or out in the open green spaces, which one would you pick? I’d choose to work out outdoors in green spaces. Why? Because not only are you breathing the fresh air when working out outdoors but you also feel grounded when you can feel the grass underneath your feet. The closer you are to nature, the more you’ll be physically active.
3.Helps Improve Sleep
Have you ever gone camping and slept under the stars? If so, wasn’t it the best sleep you’ve got? Why am I talking about camping here? Well, because the lack of artificial lighting can help your circadian rhythm set your sleeping habits right. In a study, it was found that when you live near green spaces or have an urban vegetation space, even then your sleeping habits can improve.
4.Helps Increase Productivity
Another benefit of green space can include a boost in productivity. When you’re exposed to green spaces, it can improve your soft focus skills such as hearing, seeing, and smelling without any effort. It’s a voluntary action that can help you increase your productivity and concentrate properly on your tasks.
5.Helps Increase Creativity
With our busy lifestyles, there is hardly any time that we can spare for intentional engagement in hobbies or interests. Another psychological benefit of green spaces can be an increase in creativity. How? Well, in a few mindfulness studies, for depressed people, it was shown that spending time in green spaces can help improve mood, immune response, and cognitive skills. Green spaces offer sensory stimulation that can mentally restore functions such as thinking, curiosity, and flexible thinking. Spending time near green spaces can also recharge your mind and help you foster better ideas.
6.Helps Regulate Emotions
Another benefit of green space is that it can help you reduce outbursts and regulate your emotions. When there are hardly any external stressors, you are less likely to let your emotions take over. With this, they also offer an opportunity to relax and unwind. When you’re constantly surrounded by negative thoughts and stressors, the intensity of your negative emotions also rises. Taking a break in nature can help you readjust your thoughts and control your emotions.
7.Helps Improve Cognitive Functioning
We’ve already established how green spaces can help boost productivity but did you know that they can also help you improve your cognitive functioning? Well, our busy life demands we focus on many projects at once and this can cause cognitive overload, increasing irritability. Before your lifestyle causes you to experience mental fatigue, you can escape to green spaces and restore your cognitive settings.
8.Helps Build Social Relationships
Spending time in green spaces can also help you form interpersonal relationships and supportive networks. Just being in the presence of nature can promote community relations. Did you know that in a survey, it was found that public housing residents reported feeling safer when their building had a well-maintained green space? Green urban neighborhoods were also found to have a lower crime rate and a better involvement in the community.
9.Helps Improve Immunity
Forest Bathing therapy, a Japanese therapy technique involves spending time in nature, purposefully. This technique can help improve your immunity. A trip to a nearby forest or a park can help you increase cell activity and prevent tumors such as cancer.
10.Helps Improve Mood
In a study, it was found that compared indoor walking and meditative walking in a forest, it was found that meditative walking in a forest had better psychological benefits than indoor walking. When you spend time exercising outdoors, it’s also likely to increase brain activity, reduce feelings of frustration, improve mood, and increase happiness. So now you know that walking in a park or around green spaces can increase your happiness levels and improve your mood, bringing a sense of life satisfaction.
While you may not find many green spaces in cities, however, visiting your nearest park or a forest can be a great option. Not only does living near green spaces boost our mood but can also help us increase creativity, boost productivity, reduce stress, and even prevent heart disorders.
Make sure that you try to incorporate green spaces into your everyday life. Try to take a 30-minute walk every day in a park or meditate in your garden. If you want, you can also place plants in and around your house to get the feel of living in or near green spaces.
I hope this blog helped you understand the benefits of green spaces and the importance of spending time outdoors, in nature. For more, you can visit us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below!