There are several studies that indicate how close you live to green space has a significant effect on your risk of mental illness.
This weekend I had the pleasure of returning to my native Somerset. Going home reminded me of the peace of mind you can take from time in nature.
In May, GPonline reported that Dr James Cavanagh, from Brook Green Medical Centre in London, has been prescribing gardening to patients with severe mental health issues.
Dr Cavanagh said: ‘I have at least three patients whose families have come to me and said it’s made an enormous difference to their relatives – they’re happier and more confident”.
The University Medical Centre in Amsterdam looked at the health records of 350,000 people across Holland. The annual prevalence of anxiety disorders for those living in a residential areas containing 10% green space was 26 per 1000. For those living in an area containing 90% green space it was 18 per 1000.
Strolling across open fields allows the mind to wander away from the troubles of modern life. Attention restoration theory states nature’s “soft fascinations” like rustling leaves or passing clouds can effortlessly draw attention.
Time spent with animals is also said to be good for mental health. According to the Biophilia hypothesis, our interest in animals stems from early humans’ dependence on signals in the environment indicating safety or threat. This means seeing animals at rest or in a peaceful state indicates personal safety and results in feelings of well-being.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have these beautiful landscapes on their doorstep. Now living in London I have to go out of my way to find the green space I was blessed with in Somerset.
If you are also in London and you have a free day Richmond Park is stunning and the deer are very tame!
If want to find some green space near you follow the link below and enter your postcode:
Featured image accredited to Kip Dudden