green living tips

How Nature is Good for Your Mental Health

Can living Close To Green Spaces Reduce Depression and Anxiety? Research Says Yes!

Research has thrown up more evidence that people living near woods, parks and green spaces are less prone to mental and physical health issues. People living in greener areas displayed reduced anxiety, depression and other health issues. The results were more emphatic in children and in families with low incomes.

The research was conducted in the Netherlands by a team at Amsterdam’s VU University led by Jolanda Maas.  They examined the health records of patients from across the county. With the aid of postal codes, they were able to work out the percentage of green space 2 miles away from the patient. They noted that the best results were seen where patients lived just 0.6 mile or within a kilometer from a green space.

This is not the first research linking the presence of green spaces to healthiness but it is the first time that specific health conditions have been analysed in the study.

The research lays further credence to advice given by drug addiction centers like, to people battling depression and anxiety.

Major findings

The study featured data on the prevalence of 24 health conditions which were treated over the course of a year among 350,000 patients seen at 96 health centers.

Annual prevalence for 15 out of 24 conditions was lower for patients in the greenest surroundings. This was the case even after factors known to have impact on health were taken into consideration.

The impact was more pronounced in people with mental health conditions who were one-fifth less likely to have treatment for depression and one-third less likely to get treated for anxiety disorders.  Living close to green spaces also helped with respiratory ailments such as COPD and upper respiratory infections as well as asthma.

According to the experts, the results of this study confirmed the fact that green spaces create a zone that ensures better health for residents.

This is because green spaces aid recovery from stress and provide people with a better opportunity to socialize and network. This is not discounting the free physical exercise that comes with exploring these spaces and the better air quality.

What does this mean for you?

The main takeaway from this research is that you should no longer consider green spaces a luxury. Every day, you are exposed to a dangerous mixture of atmospheric pollutants. Anything that reduces the amount of pollutants or helps rid the air around you of these pollutants deserves your full attention. Next time you are out house-hunting, give preference to properties close to parks or reserves. It could be the difference between paying a small fortune on mental health treatments and enjoying a relatively healthy life with your family!


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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