Frequent trips to the park or playtime in a backyard can benefit children for years—even their whole lives. A new study published on Monday by the journal PNAS details how children who live in areas with dense vegetation show up to 55 percent less risk of mental health disorders later in life, NPR reported.
This study, conducted by researchers from Denmark’s Aarhus University, is allegedly the largest investigation into the connection between nature and mental health, using a data set that looked at the lives of nearly one million Danish residents while also counterbalancing additional variables that could affect their likelihood of mental disorder (like income and family history).
Simply put: The study shows that exposure to greenery in childhood can decrease the likelihood of a person developing different mental illnesses, such as alcoholism, schizophrenia, and mood disorders, in adulthood. That’s not to say that exposure to nature will totally eliminate the possibility of mental health struggles later in life, but still, a bit of nature therapy is proven to have its benefits.
Even if you don’t live in an area surrounded by lush vegetation, there are plenty of ways you can get the benefits of greenery. Consider adding more plants to your home, especially if you live in a city, and go for a walk through the park when you can. A vacation to a more nature-filled location can even prove to be an especially welcoming respite. Might we suggest venturing to upstate New York or perhaps escaping to the countryside of northern Italy?
Time spent in nature doesn’t solve every problem, but it can provide some perspective in an increasingly chaotic world. A breath of fresh air, after all, can do everyone some good.
See more nature escapes:
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