This is how nature benefits our happiness and well-being

Alvaro Bayon (Vary)

in spain More than 80% of the total population, approximately 39 million people, live in urban areas. Urban environments are very useful when it comes to providing certain services that are lacking in the rural world or, in the best cases, are less accessible. But urban life doesn’t have all the advantages. environmental pollution -The undisputed field of air and acoustics motor vehicle Pedestrianism and the pace of life, marked by hasty leaves Very little room for relaxation, enjoyment and disconnection.

In this fast-paced world, where stress often overwhelms us, Nature becomes an oasis of peace And a haven for our mental health. Recent scientific studies have shown that the simple act of inspect green spaces Spending time away from our home or in natural environments has very positive effects in reducing anxiety and depression. A reality especially evident in times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemicAnd especially, during imprisonment.

Wertheimpark, Amsterdam – Fons Heijnsbroek/Wikimedia

it association with green Not only does it provide us with a momentary escape from the concrete walls and engine noise that surround us, but it also lays the foundation for a mental well-being deeper and more enduring, confirms the importance of Integrate nature into our lives In everyday life and urban policies.

Nature as a source of mental health

According to a study led by researcher olga braceAccording to the University of Seville, the mere visual perception of green spaces away from home can already significantly reduce the risk of anxiety and depression. Research published in scientific journal Environmental Research and Public Health, used a cross-sectional survey to evaluate the effect of views of green spaces from home on anxiety and depression in Carmona, Spain. Sociodemographic variables considered, lifestyleself-perceived health status and Risk of Anxiety and Depression, The results showed that adults who enjoyed views of green spaces from their home had a lower risk of anxiety and depression, it turns out. That eye contact can act as a calming and restorative element for the mind,

Park in Ukhta, Russia – Zinoviev Nikolay / Wikimedia

This effect was studied in more depth in 2020 during the COVID pandemic confinement. masashi sogaA researcher from the University of Tokyo conducted a similar analysis in this context. Their study, published in ecological applicationsThe focus was on how to interact with green spaces and Nature view from home Incarceration had a positive impact on mental health. The study found that exposure to nature was linked to improvements in mental healthWhich includes reduction in levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness.

This type of work highlights the importance of Incorporate natural elements into urban environments To promote mental health. According to statistics, interaction with nature, in addition to benefiting our mental health in general, also makes us stronger psychological flexibility In times of stress, providing space for mental and physical restoration.

How does nature benefit our happiness and mental health?

It is clear that contact with nature helps us to disconnect, be happier and reduce stress and anxiety, especially in crisis situations. But How it works, what are the reasons?

Nature in all its glory – Ansh Patankar/Wikimedia

Driven by scientific curiosity, these are the questions researchers asked themselves Hansen Li and Guodong Zang, from Southwest University in Chongqing, China. In the study he conducted, he discovered most relevant theory On the benefits that plant-rich natural environments provide to human health.

from one psychological approach, researchers became interested in the theory of attention restoration. According to this proposal, The natural environment attracts our attention slowly and effortlessly, allowing us to recharge our ability to concentrate and reducing mental fatigue. This process improves our ability to focus and attention and our overall mood. known as the hypothesis perceptual or cognitive fluency, According to this interpretation, the structure of many natural elements, such as trees and landscapes, consists of fractal shapes. is processed very efficiently by the brainWhich gives a feeling of comfort and happiness.

Furthermore, from the perspective of classical conditioningResearchers propose that some aspects of nature can produce relaxation responses We connect with those aspects because of past experiences. This learned connection between nature and a positive state of mind can be a powerful tool Improve psychological well-being and happiness.

Campo Grande Park in Valladolid – Nicolás Pérez/Wikimedia

On the other hand, from a practical point of viewGreen spaces encourage activities, e.g. take a walk or play sportsWhich improves heart health and mood. hot temperature than cities, and clean air also contributes to Physical well-being.

In addition, natural areas are favorable for meeting and social interaction, Activities like group hikes, snacks, or starry evenings encourage connection with other people, strengthens social relationships And creates a sense of community. According to researchers, these interactions can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, and the social support received through these means is stronger. Emotional and psychological flexibility.

globally, There is a complex network of factors that interact with each other.And through which natural space, and especially if it is rich in plants, benefits our mental, physical and social health. Integration of nature into our immediate environment It is not only important for individual well-being, but it also has important implications for public policy. urban planning The objective of which is to promote a healthy living environment.


  • Bracke, O. et al. 2020. Is view of green space from home associated with lower risk of anxiety and depression? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(19), 7014. doi:10.3390/ijref17197014
  • Garrido-Cumbrera, M. et al. 2022. The importance of outdoor and indoor nature views for well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. GreenCOVID study results. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 83101864. doi: 10.1016/j.genvp.2022.101864
  • Garrido-Cumbrera, M. et al. 2024. What have we learned from the impact of the pandemic on our relationship with nature? Importance of views from home. N. In Finneran et al. (Ed.), Management of Protected Areas (pp. 227-242). Springer International Publishing. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-40783-3_13
  • Gorich, M. 2023. Nature-based mental health – which type of intervention is best? European psychiatry, 66, 902-902. DOI: 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2023.1911
  • Lee, H. et al. 2024. How plant-rich natural environments can benefit human health: A narrative review of relevant theories. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 34(3), 1241-1254. DOI: 10.1080/09603123.2023.2170990
  • Soga, M. et al. 2021. A room with a green view: The importance of nearby nature for mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. ecological applications, 31(2), E2248. DOI: 10.1002/eep.2248

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