“Your environment is part of your personality. For me, living in the country helps keep my mind balanced.”
Humans have always sought shelter from the elements. We all seek to have indoor spaces that are comfortable and safe to live in. But going outside and spending time in nature can be just as important for our physical and mental health.
If you visit a local park, garden, or beach, you may notice there is less noise, and there are less people and fewer sources of stress. Sunlight, fresh air, plant life, open spaces, and the natural environment can lead to lower stress levels and have an overall positive impact on wellbeing.
For more information, take a look at our pages on connectedness and meaningful life.
A closer look
Green spaces can restore mental health
Living in an urban environment can be noisy, overstimulating and may feel rushed. However, people who live near or visit parks and nature reserves have been found to experience lower levels of stress, anxiety, depression and better sleep due to physical activity. (Source)
Getting outside into the sunlight can lift mood levels
Sunlight provides Vitamin D and helps the brain to release the calming hormone serotonin. (Source)
High noise levels cause stress for people living nearby
People living with and feeling annoyed about constant high level noise pollution, such as around airports, report higher levels of stress. (Source)
Outdoor activity is beneficial for kids
More outdoor activity means less time sitting in front of the television and digital devices. Too much screen time is known to negatively affect the mood and self-esteem of children. (Source)
Some health settings like to bring the outdoors inside
To create a sense of calm and tranquillity doctors, dentists and other health care providers sometimes have indoor plants or play nature sights and sounds in the waiting rooms or during procedures. Many people like to do this in their homes as well.
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).