Plants! Yes you should eat them, but did you know they are good for you in other ways?
I’m writing (or more correctly, revising from my old blog) this post from Liechtenstein, where I’m out of the office and absorbing the Vitamin N (nature) in high enough doses to feel some serious benefits.
It’s not just my opinion that Vitamin N is an essential nutrient. Science agrees! For example:
1. A Swedish study showed that individuals experiencing higher levels of stress had less access to green spaces, but at the same time, showed a preference for outdoor leisure activities and green environments.
2. Physiological stress recovery as measured by skin conductance was faster in a group exposed to sounds of nature, rather than various environmental noises, after a stressful maths test.
3. People moving from a less-green to more-green urban area showed sustained improvements in mental health over time. However, the reverse was not true (moving to a less-green area did not make mental health worse in this sample).
4. Visitors to an urban park in Iran reported positive mood change after having been in a green environment and around water. They reported feeling refreshed, relaxed, calmer and more ready to cope with life’s difficulties.
5. The European Commission reported that even small green areas (say, a backyard garden) can reduce the stress of living in an ‘urban heat island’. Even a small garden may be 7 degrees (C) cooler than the surrounding non-green areas.
6. Visitors to a park and forest in Switzerland reported recovery from stress and headaches and an improved sense of being well-balanced. Results were most impressive in those that had longer visits and that combined their visits with a more intense physical activity, rather than just walking or lazing around.
7. Even having a few plants and a view from your office window can improve job satisfaction.
8. Increased green spaces in deprived areas resulted in lower stress as measured by salivary cortisol.
9. Green spaces are just good for you. So says this review, though they can’t really say why nature helps us, it just does. It’s magic.
10. The presence of nature buffers the impact of life stress in rural children.
As I live in NZ, there’s really no excuse for me to nature bathe only while holidaying on the other side of the world, so I’m setting a personal goal to not use my busy life as excuse to get nature depleted when I return to Christchurch in a few weeks. Speaking of which, I hope the mum and MIL have managed to keep my aloe vera plants alive. They are kind of needy…
Nature Rx Youtube Channel (fun and funny!