The Healing Powers of Green for your Mental Health

Nutrition  |  By

We know that green is good as far as the planet is concerned. And plenty of green in our diet is good for our nutrition. But did you know how ‘going green’ can be good for your mental health too?

One of the few positives to come out of this terrible pandemic is that more people are getting outdoors in their allocated exercise slot. Whilst home workouts have become incredibly popular, the weather has allowed loads of us to escape the claustrophobia of lockdown by heading outside. But, there’s more to it than simply a brief respite from the house and family!

Loads of research has confirmed the restorative and calming effect of nature. Whether it’s the fresh air, sun on our face and the resultant vitamin D boost or just a sense of peace and an appreciation of the beauty of the world around us is difficult to say. But who doesn’t feel better after a walk in the park (even if you had to force yourself out of the door in the first place)?!

Even just being able to look out at a green space can improve the recovery of hospital patients and reduce anxiety in those with dementia.

And a recent large study from the Netherlands showed that exposure to green space in childhood led to a 55% reduction in risk for various mental illnesses later in life – even when accounting for other related factors.

Living walls are now a popular feature in forward-thinking companies who value the wellbeing of their staff…. but it doesn’t have to be that extreme. A study from Australia showed that staff who had plants placed in their offices showed reductions in stress and negativity of 30 to 60%, and other studies have shown that kids in schoolrooms respond favourably too.

So, think of ways to ‘green’ your own environment. Just a simple pot-plant is a start and you may want to involve kids in caring for their own plants to improve their mood and sense of responsibility too. Make sure you ‘green’ your exercise by incorporating outdoor activities wherever possible. And incorporating social distancing practices whilst we get back to work, could involve ‘greening’ your meetings with colleagues by walking and talking in the fresh air rather than cramped in the office.

Try to ‘green’ your relaxation time with friends and family too so that everyone benefits from all of the mental and physical benefits that the great outdoors can bring.

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