Study says that living near a forest or natural area is great for children's mental health

Study says that living near a forest or natural area is great for children’s mental health

The desire to relax in the woods and live as close to nature as possible can lead some city dwellers to give up everything to live in the countryside. Some buy a second home in the countryside, while others prefer to build a small house in the middle of a French forest. It appears that this decision could affect the mental health of the adolescents in the family.

British scientific study published on July 19 on the site science daily Reviews the positive impact of natural spaces on youth.

Nature to Save Teens

in 2018, Alex Kuzker, researcher in conservation psychology at the University of Western Brittany, explained in A study Nature’s benefit to the human body. According to her, Communicating with nature will reduce stress and improve relationships with others, But it will also be a vector for more creativity and better self-esteem.

Since then, many scientific studies have confirmed the French researcher’s hypotheses: a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature Sustainability It looks especially at the mental health of adolescents. According to this study, frequent access to a natural space (park, forest) improves their mental health and prevents the onset of cognitive disorders.

Study details

The researchers studied 3,568 children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 15 living in London. First, they determined how much time the teenager would spend each day in a “normal” space; To conduct this study, scientists identified green spaces near where teenagers lived: by satellite, they knew who was crossing forests or parks.

Two years after these results, the second phase of the study began: the principle was to study the mental health of 3,568 adolescents. Through cognitive tests based on memory, they were able to determine that teens who were close to nature performed better than those who did not have access to green spaces.

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However, according to the scientists, teenagers who are close to natural spaces such as woods or woods have better results than those who have access to artificial spaces such as parks for example. Their observation is simple: Teens near wooded areas are less likely to have behavioral problems than others.

The limits of the study

To calculate exposure to nature, scientists rely on where people live: as long as London’s woodland neighborhoods are home to fairly affluent residents, the study therefore does not focus on teenagers from more affluent backgrounds and the underprivileged in the English capital. Finally, if researchers see an improvement in the mental health of teens who are close to nature, they won’t be able to explain why; So there are benefits, but without any scientific explanation.

The forest as a place of healing

Walking in the woods is good, this no longer needs to be proven. Since the dawn of history, people have been energizing themselves in the forest. Townspeople view trees as “oxygen making machines.” However, many studies and books explain that trees communicate with each other, so that they can transfer their energies to humans.

Illustrative image. image credit: stock struggle /eka_zimina

Training courses or seminars are offered for unique experiences in the forest. At worst, the next time you go for a walk in the woods to try it out, it costs nothing. And it even has a name: chin treatment… you just have to pick your tree, embrace it with your arms, then stick your face to its trunk while closing your eyes… and let the magic work!

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