New Research Explains Why Spending Time In Nature Is Good

Spending time in nature

Pointers at Glance

  • The new study explains why spending time in nature is good for physical and mental well-being.
  • There are ten more new mechanisms identified compared to previous studies.

Several studies have revealed the positive effects of nature and the surrounding environment on mental and physical well-being. And now, new research published on 5th August from the University of Tokyo suggests the benefits of spending time in nature extend much further than was trusted previously.

Researchers conducted a systematic study of 301 academic articles spanning 62 countries on ‘cultural ecosystem services’ (CESs), also called the non-material or intangible contributions to well-being that nature provides.

Alexandros Gasparatos, A study co-author, Ph.D., associate professor of sustainability science at the Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI) at the University of Tokyo, said they identified 227 unique pathways that link a single cultural ecosystem service to a single constituent of human well-being. Many more than they initially thought.

What Is The Link Between Nature And Well-being?

Gasparatos said that spending time in nature provides opportunities for recreation and leisure, spiritual fulfillment, social relations, personal development, and aesthetic experiences. Previous studies have shown that engaging in such opportunities can provide benefits such as social cohesion, enhanced physical and mental health, and a sense of place.

According to Gasparatos, previous studies had highlighted some mechanisms, but the new research has identified ten more. These include:

  • Transcendent: Getting benefits related to religious or spiritual values after interacting with nature.
  • Cohesive: The development of meaningful human relationships by interacting with nature.
  • Satisfactory: Feeling that expectations and needs are satisfied by interacting with nature.

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