How Green Spaces Can Help Your Mental Health

What are Green Spaces?

Green spaces are areas of land outdoors that allow people to get a break from their indoor environment and technology. Parks, walkways, lawns and patios are a few of the many examples of green space. What are the benefits of having a green space around your building, workplace or school?

Benefits of a Green Space

The two biggest benefits of including a green space in the design of a home or neighborhoods are the function, cognition, and mental health benefits. Experiencing nature relieves mental fatigue from school or job stresses. Nature in an urban setting encourages environmental learning and promotes calmness.

Green spaces allow space and a place for exercise and physical activity. The more physical movement a person experiences, the better health they gain. They also gain better they function in a work or scholarly environment. Speaking of being healthier, having a spot of nature available helps people with stresses in their lives such as:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia
  • Cancer
  • Stress and nervousness.
  • Cognitive functioning problems such as paying attention
  • People suffering from cancer

Children and Green Spaces

As previously stated, nature helps both children and adults by improving their cognitive functioning and ability to think. Children who have routine contact with nature also gain increased knowledge and skills that help their imagination, creativity and social development. Parks are especially wonderful for allowing children to enjoy the outdoor environment and develop social skills.

Children with ADD have fewer symptoms of the disorder if they are allowed to play outdoors. They experience the ability to burn off some energy and experience the calming effects that being outdoors in a green space can bring. Rotating between classroom task-oriented activities and spending time outdoors remains a unique and helpful way for ADD children to go through their education.

Landscaping makes for a great place for children to play. A shady tree becomes an imaginary home. Shrubbery gives a place for a child to hide. An expanse of lawn gives kids a place to run and play.

Mental Illness

For people with depression, spending time outside is beneficial for several reasons. Time spent outside in a green space allows the depressed person to absorb Vitamin D directly from the sunshine. Sunshine is the best natural source of this vitamin. The lack of Vitamin D remains one of the direct causes of depression. So everyone can benefit from a short bask in the sun to improve one’s mood.

How to Experience Recovery from Mental Fatigue

The constant bustle of life in a town or city causes mental fatigue after a while. There may be so much stimulation in urban life that a person’s reactions and attention span become fatigued. Everyone living in an urban setting should have a break from all the stimuli to rest and refresh the brain. Even a small amount of time spent viewing the out-of-doors can give city dwellers and opportunity for a break from the media and excessive demands of urban life. A break from sitting at a desk and looking at a computer can give working people and scholars just the rest they need to have improved attention and increased work production. Even having plants or a window in the office or classroom improves the environment and increases productivity. College students with a view from their classroom or some green space even have been shown to have better grades. Plus, a green space environment makes the classroom or workspace much more pleasant for workers to be in.

Dementia and Green Spaces

Time outdoors remains a way to enhance and improve the life of a person with any form of dementia. Benefits such as relieving stress and relaxation continue to be crucial for those whose minds are confused due to such diseases. Green spaces give the mind a break, give people a chance to talk and socialize, and provide areas for exercise to build the body. The extra exercise and fresh air also allow people with dementia and Alzheimer’s to sleep better due to increased exercise levels. They may also have fewer negative behaviours and gain a more positive outlook on life after spending time outside in nature.

Increasing parks in urban design are one of the best ways to add green space to a community. These parks should be maintained and easily accessible to a neighbourhood to make it convenient to access. Planting a variety of plants makes landscaping more interesting and mentally stimulating. A goodly amount of sunshine adds Vitamin D and happiness to those who enjoy urban green areas. Land inside a city can be reclaimed, too, as building decay over time. People’s lives and well-being can be improved by enhancing awareness of the importance of green spaces.