The effects of “green space” on your health

Add some green space to your life.
You’ll do your over-stressed brain a favour. The benefits of investing in indoor plants, spending time in green spaces and going for walks through nature is undeniable. Research is showing time and time again the positive results associated with ‘forest bathing’ and preventative healthcare. It’s been reported that people who live amongst green spaces have a more positive and meaningful sense of purpose in life- an increase of energy and overall ‘feel good’ attitude testament to this. Studies have also found that people who live near more green space reported less mental distress, lower mortality, fewer stress hormones, a reduction in depression, anxiety, diabetes, asthma, migraines and heart disease (just to name a few).
History tells a similar story. Cyrus the Great, founder of the Greek Achaemenid Empire, instinctively built luscious green garden escapes in the middle of Pasargadae, 2500 years ago. With Pasargadae being a dense urban city landscape, his focus was the promotion of tranquility- a catalyst for human health.
Here are some of the benefits of Forest Bathing (and trust me, the list goes on);
Immune system – It is reported that forest bathing increases natural killer cells and intracellular anticancer proteins. These promote the positive effects that nature has on the immune system and its aiding in cancer prevention.
Diabetes type II – A study conducted on 48 adults diagnosed with type II diabetes found that blood sugar readings declined after multiple forest bathing practices had taken place- thus linking green space and a reduction in blood sugar glucose levels. Cardiovascular system – A comparative study between gardening and computer performance tasks revealed that both blood pressure and heart rate showed significant reduction in participants when handing flora.
Depression and anxiety – Japanese residents suffering from chronic stress have reported reductions in subjective feelings of hostility, depression and anxiety a direct results from spending time in forested environments. Work in the city and cant escape the rigid buildings and rush of people? Not to worry, the use of nature videos involving the forest or the ocean results in the same physiological effects as well as surrounding yourself with plants indoors. So switch your desktop background to a tree landscape, or invest in a small plant friend to reap the benefits – it’s that easy.

Written by Jacqueline Lovett (BHSc Naturopathy)

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