Contact with Nature and Mental Health

It is common for people to seek out being in nature as a way to de-stress and relieve their anxiety. Being in a secluded place away from the noise and over-stimulation of the city can help people feel rejuvenated. Recent studies have found that exposure to nature, especially in early childhood, can predict better mental health for adults.


Exposure to a natural environment is known to have many health benefits including better cognitive development and better overall health. A recent study focused on contact in green (forests, parks) and blue spaces (oceans, lakes) in childhood and how they influenced mental health. The study revealed that adults who had experienced less exposure to nature during their childhood had lower scores on mental health tests while those with more exposure had higher scores.


As a result of these findings, researchers believe that childhood exposure to natural places and general nature appreciation can lead to a healthier psychological state in adulthood. Children that live in urban areas often have limited access to green and blue spaces which can hinder their ability to connect with nature. Those that grow up in indoor environments and big cities need to have some kind of exposure to natural spaces to improve their mental health as they grow older.


Even in adulthood, spending time in nature can be very beneficial for mental and physical health. Many recovery programs focus on providing patients with time spent in natural spaces while hiking, camping or swimming. These kinds of activities can help improve functioning and also heal issues with mental health disorders.


Nature is crucial for our well-being as children and as we grow into adulthood. Improving the availability of natural spaces can provide better health for people living in urban environments that are conducive to stress.