Children who grow up near nature turn into happier adults, says new study
All that fresh air.
Much as I am a total city girl, I am also the first to admit that being near nature is all sorts of soothing. I love the feeling you have after a day at the beach or the gorgeous stillness at the top of a mountain when you have hiked to the top of one.
Being in nature makes us feel healthy and refreshed. And did you know it also does wonders for our happiness?
In fact, according to a new Danish study, being near 'dense vegetation' is clearly better for one's mental health.
What's more: A nationwide study of over 900,000 people published in PNAS showed that "children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had up to 55 percent higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder independent from effects of other known risk factors."
Researchers looked at satellite images of to see how much green space surrounded the areas where the participants grew up.
And according to the study, the participants didn't necessarily have to live in a forest to enjoy the mental health benefits, just reside within a reasonable drive from wilderness areas, public parks, and urban green spaces.
"If we were talking about a new medicine that had this kind of effect the buzz would be huge," Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond, told NPR.
To be fair, people of higher socioeconomic status tend to live in areas with greater access to parks and have the means to shield their children from some mental disorders. So the researchers factored in income data as well to weigh the relative contribution of green space against socioeconomic backgrounds.
According to UpWorthy, the Danish researchers also found that the results were "dosage dependent." The greater percentage of someone's childhood spent near green spaces, the less the chance of developing mental illness.
Lambert suggests that access to green spaces may be good for our mental health because humans evolved surrounded nature.