Increasing evidence suggests that exposure to nature improves the physical and mental well-being of humans. Studies indicate that being in a green environment increases positive feelings, improves memory and boosts cognitive skills. These outcomes may be applicable to indoor plants as well.
In addition to the benefits of direct nature exposure, recreational experiences in nature have been associated with beneficial effects on mental health. Some studies show that more frequent visits to parks and other natural areas are associated with a reduced incidence of depression. However, the link between outdoor activities and positive mental health is not fully understood.
A recent study conducted in Denmark investigated the relationship between green space and mental health. Participants completed four seasonal waves, which measured exposure to different types of interaction with green spaces and mental health. Using structural equation modelling, the associations were tested. The results found a positive relationship between exposure to green spaces and mental health during childhood.
Researchers analyzed data from 16,307 respondents in 18 countries. A relationship between the presence of green space and the perceived restorativeness of a neighborhood was measured using a Perceived Restorativeness Scale. This measure of perceived restorativeness varies across countries and regions.
Residents of residential areas with fewer green spaces had a higher rate of anxiety disorders. On the other hand, people who lived in more environmentally-friendly neighborhoods had better mental health. Similarly, students who stayed home most of the day reported improved mental health when exposed to more greenery.