It can make a real difference (Picture: Getty)
Nature being good for our health is nothing new.
However, recent research has found that it really is having a positive impact on psychological wellbeing in the current stay-at-home climate.
A study carried out by researchers in several countries suggests spending time outdoors is especially important for our happiness during periods of coronavirus restrictions, as it can drastically improve our mental health.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK, Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Austria and Perdana University in Malaysia looked into how happiness and mental health were affected by three factors – being outdoors, the amount of daily screen time and feelings of loneliness – all during a national lockdown.
A group of 286 adults were involved in the study and levels of happiness were measured three times a day, at random intervals, over three weeks.
What makes this research different to studies that have gone before is that it was actually carried out during lockdown. It took place in April 2020 when Austrian participants were only allowed out of their homes for certain activities, including exercise.
Time spent outdoors during lockdown has a beneficial impact on psychological well-being (Picture: Getty Images)
Results – published in the Journal of Happiness Studies – showed levels of happiness were higher when participants were outdoors rather than indoors. And, unsurprisingly, more daily screen time and higher levels of loneliness were both associated with lower levels of happiness.
Interestingly, the findings also showed that the impact of loneliness on happiness was weaker when participants were outdoors.
The authors of the study explain that these results are particularly important at this moment in time – when people are inside more than ever before.
They said: ‘Our results are important in this context because they show that being able to spend time outdoors under conditions of lockdown has a beneficial impact on psychological well-being.
‘Being outdoors provides opportunities to escape from the stresses of being confined at home, maintain social relationships with others, and engage in physical activity — all of which can improve mental health.’
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