Natural environment enhances stress reduction
Can nature be part of a new solution for mental healthcare?
The environment around us can influence our mental and physical health and impact our health-related behaviours and choices in many different and conflicting ways. Some places can promote good health and wellbeing, whilst others may have the opposite effect. In particular, natural environments are known to support mental health and wellbeing and represent a key element in preventing and dealing with mental illness.
Dr. Choe (2020) found that therapeutic intervention in the natural outdoor environment improved ruminative and reflective attitudes and was associated with greater stress reduction than other environments (i.e. built outdoor and indoor settings). Moreover, the impacts of the intervention lasted longer when conducted in the natural environment; the outcomes of the MBSR group in the natural environment continued to improve, even after the intervention was completed (at one-month follow-up). It is assumed that the longevity of the positive effects in natural environments can be influenced by the eudaimonic aspects of nature connectedness, leading to more sustained outcomes.
“There's wind and some people talking, alarms going off somewhere in the distance but at the same time it, it felt like it also kind of worked really well with the mindfulness because when you're sitting there sort of just drifting you're focusing on the present moment,"
Participant A (male, 34) from park setting
Please find an interview by Ingrid Fadelli, a science and tech journalist: https://ingridfadelli.xyz/could-mindfulness-training-be-more-effective-when-practiced-in-natural-environments/
How to cite:
E. Y. Choe, A. Jorgensen, D. Sheffield (2020). Does a natural environment enhance the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)? Examining the mental health and wellbeing, and nature connectedness benefits. Landscape and Urban Planning, 202, 103886.