How many times did your mother tell you as a child to get out and get some fresh air? Like the proverbial chicken soup that aids a cold and fever, Mom knew what she was talking about. Getting out into the open air on a bright, crisp day is invigorating for the body and soul.
Taking time for a walk outside, especially where there's greenery and other relaxing signs of nature all around, improves emotional well-being, according to research done at the University of Exeter in the U.K. The British study found scientific evidence to back up the belief that a walk in a park can boost one's mental outlook, just as nature lovers have suspected for years.
Published in the journal Psychological Science, the research focused on British urban dwellers. When compared to other major influences on emotional well-being - married life, job satisfaction, unemployment, housing situation and finances - being within proximity to green spaces stacked up pretty well. For instance, the research showed that having access to nature has a positive impact that was equal to about one-third the satisfaction of being happily married.
Making People Happier
The research team based their conclusions on interviews done as part of a national survey with more than 10,000 people participating from U.K. households between 1991 and 2008. The study, which confirmed previous research on the subject, may help psychologists, public health officials and urban planners come up with ideas that have a beneficial impact on city dwellers' health and well-being.
"These kinds of comparisons are important for policymakers when trying to decide how to invest scarce public resources, such as for park development or upkeep, and figuring out what 'bang' they'll get for their buck," said study leader Mathew White, Ph.D., of the University of Exeter's European Center for Environment and Human Health.
According to GreatSchools.org, this advice is particularly important at a time when people are spending so much time indoors using electronic devices instead of getting out - even for a short time - to relieve stress.
But there's a lot of resistance to putting down those cell phones and tablets. When people need help getting their family and friends to make more time for relaxing outdoors, they can consult with phone psychics or participate in an online psychic chat to get some advice on making changes in their lives and those of the people closest to them.
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