We at Improve your Plant/Life Balance support World Mental Health Day (1010.org.au) and believe that the therapeutic value of plant life in our communities needs greater recognition.
The natural environment improves health and wellbeing, as well as preventing disease and helping people recover from illness. When we are told that one in five people will experience mental illness this year, plants in our lives become even more important.
Research shows that:
- People who spend more time outside in nature have better mental health and a more positive outlook on life.
- People who spend time cultivating plants have less stress in their lives. Plants soothe human beings and provide a positive way for people to channel their stress into nurturing.
- Residents of neighbourhoods with high quality public open space can have higher odds of low psychosocial distress than residents of neighbourhoods with low quality public open space.
- Both men and women show self-esteem and mood improvements following green exercise, ie when physical activity is undertaken in the presence of nature.
- People who perceived their neighbourhoods as very green had up to 1.6 times greater odds of better physical and mental health (than those who perceive their neighbourhoods as lower in greenness.
- Access to parks and recreational activities is positively correlated with rates of physical activity, improving mood and contributing to overall healthiness.
- Spending time in natural environments increases energy levels and feelings of vitality, as well as making people better at doing their jobs.
Open green space in our cities is now more important than ever as housing becomes higher density. What is encouraging is the emergence of more community gardens, which apart from provide healthy nutritious food, give people the chance to connect to nature and also to others.
For details about World Mental Health Day visit www.1010.org.au