Improving mental health is a walk in the park (but mind the volcanoes)

This article by Jann Bellamy has been published by Science-Based Medicine. It begins:

“A new study from researchers at the University of Vermont adds to the body of evidence suggesting that better mental health is right out your front door. [Schwartz, AJ, et al, ‘Visitors to urban greenspace have higher sentiment and lower negativity’, People and Nature, 2019; published by the British Ecological Society]

According to Christopher Danforth, one of the study’s co-authors,

‘Being in nature offers restorative benefits on dimensions not available for purchase in a store or downloadable on a screen.’

That’s bad news for the wellness-industrial complex.

Noting ‘a growing interest in understanding the connection between mental health and exposure to biodiversity’, the researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation, turned to Twitter and geolocation technology to assess the association between park visits and changes in happiness, as expressed in tweets. In 2016, they collected all tweets (about 70,000 per day) geotagged with latitude and longitude in San Francisco, CA, for three months. San Francisco was selected because over 98% of its population live within walking distance of its top-ranked park system, which spans more than 220 sites and 3,400 acres. Parks were categorized based on vegetation cover in order to better understand how park type relates to the benefits of park visits. In other words, is bigger and greener better? …”

You can read more from here.

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  1. Pingback: Improving mental health is a walk in the park (but mind the volcanoes) – pdx vagabond

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