Living in urban environments provides us with wonderful benefits – access to jobs and schools, diverse social interactions and easy access to arts and culture. But as much as I enjoy living in the city, I'm always drawn to the world's natural beauty. I love hiking in the area’s many mountain preserves and walking through our neighborhood parks.
And it’s no surprise that getting a dose of nature is sometimes just what we need to feel rejuvenated. A body of psychological study, supported by widespread anecdotal evidence supports that direct contact with nature leads to psychological development and increased mental health. Here’s just a few of the ways nature affects children:
A Finnish study of adolescents found that nature assisted in emotional coping and stress reduction;
A study on children with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder show they function better in nature and their symptoms were lessened after playing outdoors in a green setting;
Norweigan and Finnish school children who spent recess among trees, rocks and other natural topography showed higher gains in balance and agility than those who played on traditional playgrounds;
For adults, direct contact with nature can lead to stress reduction, shorter recovery times from surgery and illness, increased sensory awareness, and even improved self-confidence and self-esteem generated from feeling part of something larger.
Do you feel healthier after spending time outside in green settings? If you live in an urban setting, what do you do to ‘get away’ from your city environment?
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