Nature And Mental Health
Our natural environment can have a positive or negative impact on a person’s mental well-being. Along with other factors such as economical and job insecurity, weather patterns and climate change also influence one’s mental health. In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly included mental health and well-being in its Sustainable Development Goals.
In a study of Greenlanders, it was demonstrated that people living amidst the climate crisis have higher chances of suffering through anxiety and depression. As per the reports published in Psychiatric Research, children who had been exposed to dirtier air at the age of 12 are four times more likely to have depression by the age of 18. According to Global Environmental Outlook, forests can help in improving mental and physical health. Thus, the natural world has many benefits.
Tackling Mental Health Issues By Enhancing The Availability Of Green Spaces
Many researchers have demonstrated that people who have access to natural environment have better mental health. Those who have access to green spaces have lower chances of developing depression, anxiety and other psychological problems than those who do not have access to them. We can tackle the mental health crisis by following some sustainable practices.
- Building urban nature by constructing parks and walkways in building designs can provide a calming effect and help in energising your mind from the mental fatigue of work or studies.
- Green spaces can create a place for physical activities in close association with nature. Outdoor activities can help in improving your cognitive function and memory, and act as a remedy for dementia, stress and depression.
- Instead of using cars, you can go to the office using a bike or by walking. This will not only help reduce fuel consumption, but also benefit your body and mind. A recent study of 123 Canadian employees showed that people who use cycle instead of driving had a low level of stress.
- Instead of using fluorescent lights, we should take advantage of sunlight during the daytime. Along with reducing energy consumption and lowering your energy bill, this will help boost your energy and reduce sleepiness.
- We know that switching off lights and electronic gadgets at night can save energy. A research conducted in Korea states that shutting off lights and other electronics increases the quality of your sleep. A good sleep is very important for a healthy mind and body. It will help you in being sharper the next day.
- Growing plants inside your house won’t just look nice, but also boost your mood. Research shows that plants increase the quality of air by reducing the level of irritating volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and boost the feeling of well-being. Growing a garden can also help in reducing your stress and anxiety issues.
Through sustainable living, we are not just protecting the environment and ecological balance; we are also providing a cure to our mental health crisis.
About The Author: Radhika R is a student of Christ University Bangalore. She is pursuing her Masters in English with Cultural Studies. She completed her UG in English Literature from Kerala. Her areas of interest are mythology and arts.