Research shows once again that people are influenced for the better by living close to trees and fields. Apparently, those people who live near a park have fewer cravings. This is because, being close to nature reduces depression and thus the desire to binge. I recall a study that was done at the State Prison of Southern Michigan in the U.S. during the Seventies. Half of the prisoners’ cells looked out over rolling farmland and trees, while the other half looked out onto a bare brick wall. It was found that those who had a green, rural view were 24 percent less likely to have physical or mental health problems, which proves just how important green spaces are for our mental health.
Lately, there is a reverse trend to use rather than to sell school playing fields. Some schools even have an allotment-type space where the children learn how to grow vegetables that the school cook can use in the kitchen. The activity takes children away from their PlayStations and makes it easy for them to like and eat all the vegetables that they grow themselves. Being in the fresh air and getting their hands dirty is greatly beneficial to their wellbeing, to the feeling of belonging to a little community, and to developing an interesting vocabulary, what with all the plant names, the different types of soil….. It can only be highly recommended.
The recent technological takeover of the lives of children and even their parents has resulted in the fragmentation of family life. Often seen as a joke, at which to poke fun, in adverts showing everybody everywhere looking, checking or texting their mobiles, even when dining out, in reality, it has resulted in a huge rise in mental problems among the young and their sense of isolation. It was wonderful to see that so many people agree that nature is the only answer. With that in mind, the garden designed by the Duchess of Cambridge at the Chelsea Flower show is my favourite. With its woodland setting, a brook, a treehouse, luscious ferns with slabs and pebbles galore, it was loved by her own three children, and indeed it was a wonderland, where they played, learning while being active.
A few days ago new research advocated having a potted plant at our desk in the office as it will reduce stress and anxiety at work. The workers in the office were asked to look for 3 minutes at their potted plant and their heart rate had fallen. The workers appreciated being able to look away from their screens and it became a talking point. The findings could be helpful to 600,000 people in Britain who suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety.
It seems that nature offers the answer to many of our problems.