Nature Can Improve Mental Health During the Pandemic, Study Finds

Many of us know that this is true, but now we have proof that spending time outdoors is good for your mental and physical well being.

By Joni Sweet Fact checked by Sean Blackburn November 23, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • A survey of 3,000 Tokyo residents found that spending time in nature improved participants’ emotional wellbeing during the pandemic.
  • Even people who simply looked at a green spaces from a window experienced psychological benefits, according to the study.
  • Finding ways to enjoy nature consistently and mindfully could offer relief from stress and anxiety, experts say.

Social distancing and staying at home for months on end can take a toll on your mental health. Eager to help people find relief, scientists may have stumbled upon an accessible, free way to potentially feel better: spending time in nature.

A team of researchers from Japan surveyed thousands of people in the world’s largest megacity, Tokyo, to learn how exposure to nature was impacting people’s wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that people who spent time outdoors had more positive mental health outcomes in five key areas compared with participants who didn’t have as much access to nature.

What’s more, the study also showed that people who simply looked at green spaces from a window experienced similar benefits.

Here’s what researchers have learned about the relationship between the outdoors and mental health, along with guidance on how to find the perfect “dose” of nature therapy for you.

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