You probably know that spending time in the great outdoors is good for your mental state. If you’re like most people, you feel relaxed and invigorated when you take time to enjoy nature’s beauty.
What you may not know is that scientific evidence now shows that spending time among trees can have profound, quantifiable healing effects on your body. Researchers from the Finnish Forest Research Institute report that when people spend time in green settings, they experience lower levels of stress, anger and aggression, and increased levels of happiness. The stress-relieving effects of nature are so powerful, they say, that they strengthen the body’s immune system and increase the number and activity of cells that fight cancer.
The researchers found that people tend to recover more quickly after going through a stressful situation when they spend time recuperating in a green environment, rather than in an urban setting. They documented faster decreases in blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and stress hormones levels in people who recovered in nature.
The scientists say that their findings demonstrate the importance of preserving forests and creating urban green spaces. Specifically, they say that making cities greener could help cut health care costs by helping to mitigate the well-documented damaging effects of stress on health and to speed recovery from illness. The result? Happier, healthier, more productive citizens!