PLYMOUTH, England – Much of modern life is happening in the interior. From offices to apartments or houses, most people today find themselves locked inside for most of the day. Spending more time outdoors has long been associated with a more positive state of mind, but a study has now concluded that seeing Everyday greenery can put us in a better state of mind and reduce the harmful cravings of substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and junk food.
According to the Plymouth University study, being able to see greenery and nature at home will result in less frequent and more intense cravings. The research builds on previous work that linked outdoor exercise with reduced cravings, but the authors of the study claim that exercise is not necessary to take advantage of benefits of nature.
The study is the first of its kind and its authors say their findings underscore the need for cities and communities around the world to invest in and protect public green spaces.
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"It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is related to a person's well-being. But, a similar association with the desires to simply see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research. This is the first study to explore this idea, which could have many implications for public health programs and environmental protection in the future, says lead researcher Leanne Martin in a statement.
The study participants completed an online survey that asked them questions about their daily exposure to nature, their usual cravings, and the frequency of their negative emotions. With respect to nature, the survey measured participants' exposure to greenery in their neighborhood, the amount of foliage visible from their homes, access to a garden, and frequent use of public parks.
The results indicated that daily access to a garden or other green space reduced the frequency and frequency of harmful cravings. In addition, the opportunity to see the nature of home has had similar results. The researchers also took exercise into account in the surveys, but found that participants reported fewer cravings after seeing nature, whether they exercised or not.
The authors of the study wish to conduct further studies on the future impact of nature on cravings and hope that green spaces can be used to help people with addiction problems.
The study is published in the scientific journal Health and place.
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