Everyone knows that taking a walk in nature is good for you – in fact, a recent study found that the daily “dose” of nature to reap the benefits of lowering cortisol is 20 minutes a day – but a new study says that to benefit in a very specific way from the outdoors, we don’t even need to leave our house.
The study, led by the University of Plymouth, says the mere sight of foliage from our homes is linked with reduced cravings – both in frequency and intensity – for alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food. This study built on previous research that exercising in nature can help reduce cravings. Only this time, the exposure to nature is passive.
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Study participants filled out an online survey, answering questions about if they came in contact with nature daily, their cravings, and how often they had negative emotions. With nature, the survey measured the amount of greenery in participants’ neighborhood, whether or not they had a garden, the greenery visible from their homes, and how often they went to public parks. The more access to greenspaces they had – such as access to a garden or residential views of 25% greenspace or more – the lower their cravings were.
“It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s wellbeing, but for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research,” said lead researcher Leanne Martin of the University of Plymouth, in a release.
“This is the first study to explore this idea, and it could have a range of implications for both public health and environmental protection programs in the future.”
Relatedly, Ladders recently interviewed a plant expert about how plants – even just one plant – have been proven to make office workers happier, more productive, and more creative at work.