River guides might know that nature is transformative for the human body and psyche; but the mechanism behind such profound change is less universally agreed upon and understood.
Researchers at Stanford recently found that more time spent outdoors yields significant mental health benefits and even reduces the risk of depression. Published in Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science, the study found decreased activity in the part of the brain associated with depression in individuals who spent an hour and a half in a natural area, compared to individuals who spent the same amount of time in a congested urban setting. Accordingly, as the world has quickly become more urbanized, rates of mental disorders such as depression have dramatically risen. The Natural Capital Project, along with other organizations including The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund, have contributed to growing bodies of research exploring the increasingly obvious connection between the environment and human well-being.
“We need to pay attention to aspects that make streets more appealing and walkable,” writes psychiatrist Dr Paul Keedwell in Headspace: The Psychology of City Living, a timely exposition of how bad environmental design can cause creeping stress, alienation and even depression.
The experiment’s results have now convinced some prison officials to offer inmates access to nature videos. However, critics of the study argue that it could be used to justify the continued use of solitary confinement—a practice that some consider too harsh.
Mountain Respite Camp is intended as both an escape from the challenges of living with a psychiatric disability and an opportunity to bond with people who are strangers yet know intimately what everyone else is going through. While the largest group of campers hailed from Orange County, others came from the Los Angeles area and Read more
The effect is real, and over the years, scientists have shown that nature can provide stress relief, increase social interaction, encourage physical exercise and even help soothe mental illness. But this effect isn’t limited to forests or beaches that may be miles away.
What is emerging from research is that living in cities may double the risk of schizophrenia and increase the risks of anxiety disorders (by 21%), mood disorders (by 39%), and depression (by 40%). The range of potential explanations for these findings include issues related to the physical environment of cities, such as heat, noise, light Read more
Mike Johnson, a 50-year-old flight reservation agent, endures summer’s blistering heat and hours of relentless sun behind his home’s shuttered blinds, saying he loses sleep and weight. It isn’t clear whether he has summer depression, a rare seasonal disorder, but he feels especially sad and frustrated at this time of year.
Nature is beneficial – maybe essential – for human health. Psychologists and health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should spend time outside.
Therapeutic gardening can be a powerful way to ground psychiatric patients because it puts them in contact with nature and other people and gets their bodies moving. Grounding techniques help people detach from emotional pain by reconnecting with the external world and the present moment.
The belief that mental illness is worse in industrialized and urbanized environments is supported by some evidence. For example, much recent research suggests that rates of mental illness are higher in urban centres, compared with rates in the countryside.
The practice, long-popular in Japan, is gaining traction in the U.S. as a way of harnessing the health benefits of being outdoors.
WHO Regional Director for South East Asia, Poonam Khetrapal Singh said rapid urbanisation was challenging the ecosystem, severely affecting physical and mental health being. Noncommunicable diseases–many of them environment-related–account for around 8.5 million deaths in the South East Asia Region every year while consumption of food containing traces of heavy metals and other detritus was Read more
It’s been ten years since the Nowak debacle, and NASA hasn’t forgotten about mental health. Last year, scientists working for the Human Research Program at NASA released their latest evidence report on mental health in space flight. Read more.
With floods — as well as storms, heat waves and droughts — expected to increase in frequency thanks to climate change, the impact such trauma may have on the minds of those affected is something doctors, policymakers and governments are considering when planning services to help populations at-risk.
Looking beyond the physical, experts are also trying to sound the alarm about the quieter, more insidious effects of climate change: namely, that global warming is threatening the emotional health of humans worldwide.
According to research from the Royal Women’s Hospital, Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne, found no association between depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, or psychological distress with vitamin D status.
The sky gets bright later in the morning, and dark earlier in the evening; yet, our hectic schedules require us to keep going as if nothing has changed.
Compared to the allure of video gaming, the promise of working with your hands and spending time in the great outdoors doesn’t hold much interest. But new research provides incentive to encourage your kids to sign up.
The mental health effects of a natural disaster are felt for years after the event itself.
A lack of vitamin D – common in the UK during the autumn and winter months – has been associated with increased symptoms of depression, according to a new study.
“Our neighborhood parks and the vast lands of the Forest Preserves of Cook County offer so many opportunities to get out and explore nature. And our mental and physical health can be improved because of it.”
A story of motherhood, mental illness, and a planet on fire.
You would think that after all these misbegotten studies scientists would have given up on their efforts to find a biological basis for crime. But no: in recent years there’s been a renewal of the science, most recently in the studies of an apparent ‘warrior gene’ that makes some men (it’s always men) inherently violent
The stallion kicked out, nostrils flaring. In the ring, it faced off against a 32-year-old former infantryman. –