Contact with nature helps fight loneliness - The Guardian

16 January 2022, 16:34 | Peace
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Loneliness is a serious mental health issue and can increase the risk of death.. Contact with nature significantly reduces feelings of loneliness, scientists say.

Studies show that loneliness can increase a person's risk of premature death by 45% - more than air pollution, obesity or alcohol abuse..

Scientists estimate how the environment can affect the feeling of loneliness. The researchers used real-time data collected via a smartphone app.

A study found that feeling "

But when people were able to see the trees or the sky, or hear the birds singing, the feeling of loneliness decreased by 28%.. Feeling “included” in social activities also reduces loneliness by 21%.

Findings point to measures to reduce feelings of loneliness, researchers say.

“Concrete steps are needed that increase social integration and contact with nature, especially in densely populated cities,” the researchers say..

Spending time in nature is known to make you feel better.. Scientists say that expanding "

The study called into question the traditional notion of cities as places that are always bad for mental health, says Professor Andrea Mechelli of King's College London..

“Nature and social activity can really reduce loneliness,” Mechelli added..

Architect and artist Michael Smythe, who works on social architecture and urban landscapes, was part of the research team..

“For people like us who work with public space, such studies provide useful information.. Environmental health and public health are intertwined,” said Smythe..

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports collected data from urban residents around the world using the Urban Mind app..

People were asked three times a day for two weeks to answer simple questions about loneliness, social activity and contact with nature..

More than 750 people submitted 16,600 ratings, which included the questions “do you feel alone among the people around?

Participants were “self-selected,” so scientists did not provide a representative sample of the general population. But when the researchers adjusted for age, ethnicity, education, and occupation, the benefits of being in contact with nature and “social inclusion” in the fight against loneliness remained statistically significant..

“It has long been recognized that access to nature can facilitate social interaction. This study adds weight to the already existing evidence of our kinship with the natural environment, showing the benefits of contact with nature for social well-being,” says Staffordshire University professor Christopher Gidlow..

“Cities are perhaps the only habitat that is expanding at a rapid pace.. Therefore, we must create cities where people can thrive..

Nature is an important part of this because there are really deep connections in our soul with the natural environment,” says landscape architect Joanna Gibbons.

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Studies show that chronic loneliness can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Scientists sound the alarm: Loneliness directly affects mental health and contributes to symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is associated with poor immune response and cognitive impairment, as well as an increased risk of chronic disease..

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