A 20,000-person study published recently in Scientific Reports found that people who spend at least 120 minutes a week – that's about 18 minutes a day – in the wild report far more often about good health and mental health Well-being compared to those who do not like nature. People who spent some time in nature, but less than 120 minutes per week, "did not report good health or well-being more often than those who reported 0 minutes," the study's authors noted.
You can split these 120 minutes at will – into a very long or shorter visit. And you do not have to go deep into a forest: parks, forests and beaches work too.
Whatever you do, this exposure to nature is likely to have a big impact if you get enough of it: those who spent 1
This study draws on numerous other studies that prove that entering nature is a key to better physical and mental health. A study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning in 2015 found that those who took a 50-minute walk through a city area were less anxious and lucky than those who took a 50-minute nature walk. And the contact with nature "reduces the mental fatigue and the associated feelings of irritability," according to a study published in Environment & Behavior.
Another 2015 study found that people who walked one and a half hours in nature compared to a street had a lower level of ruminating, concentrating on negative things and having repetitive thoughts. The nature hikers, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "also showed reduced neuronal activity in an area of the brain related to the risk of mental illness".
However, it is important to remember that the Scientific Opinions do not prove causality. People who spend a lot of time in nature may already have a sunnier psychological predisposition.
Yet, it's a simple recipe that many of us can follow: Go green at least 120 minutes a week, and you can promote health and happiness. The authors write: "120 minutes of contact with nature each week may reflect a kind of" threshold "below which contact is insufficient to provide significant health and well-being benefits."