"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Why diversity in nature will be the important thing to mental well-being.

By the time you read this text, a minimum of one species on our planet will be lost Forever

Humans rely upon a big selection of animals, plants and microorganisms for a healthy living environment. Research has shown that the continued decline in biodiversity – the range of life on Earth – threatens the very existence of humanity. a study My colleagues and I took this information further. We have shown that biodiversity also can play a crucial role in people's mental well-being.

Previous studies What is the demonstration? Contact with nature advantages mental well-being, especially for individuals who live in cities. For example, there’s a risk of developing two of essentially the most common mental disorders on the planet, depression and anxiety. 71 percent less Among urban dwellers who live near green spaces. However, most of those studies haven’t considered the extent to which these advantages rely upon natural diversity.

To address this gap in research, we examined whether environments wealthy in natural features, resembling trees, plants, waterways, and wildlife, are related to greater mental health than environments with a narrower range of natural features. Bring advantages.

Between April 2018 and September 2023, we collected data. Urban Mind App, which measures the user experience of urban and rural life. 1,998 people submitted 41,000 assessments of their environment and mental well-being throughout the day.

We found that green spaces with high natural diversity had greater advantages for mental health. Low natural diversity. Participants attributed a few quarter of this positive effect to natural diversity – and reported that the advantages could last as long as eight hours.

Wild and well-being

The results of our study suggest that the advantages of nature for mental health will be maximized by protecting and promoting biodiversity in our natural environment. This means moving away from heavily curated pockets of greenery – resembling landscaped gardens and grasslands, that are typically related to low biodiversity – to spaces resembling woodlands and waterways. which give more attractive habitat for a spread of plants and animals. .

Broadcaster and biologist David Attenborough explains why biodiversity is so essential to humans.

Our findings are consistent with other studies on the useful effects of diverse natural habitats for mental health. Fresh A survey of 15000 households It found that folks who lived near natural areas wealthy in plant and bird species reported lower rates of mental health problems — even after accounting for social and economic differences between participants.

Our study extends this evidence by showing that, to experience the mental health advantages of biodiversity, we don’t must live near a various green space for long periods of time. In fact, the advantages will be experienced through temporary each day encounters with biological diversity.

Stimulus to the senses

There are some ways that nature, especially biodiversity, can profit mental health.

Biodiverse nature offers more stimulation to the senses, which might improve concentration, reduce mental fatigue and restore cognitive resources – resembling memory and a focus span. In addition, individuals who live in or near a natural space spend more time outdoors exercising or socializing, each of which promote the discharge of endorphins and other mood-enhancing hormones.

Diverse natural environments also play a crucial role in reducing pollution and moderating temperatures. It helps protect against chronic physical conditions resembling allergies and asthma, while reducing stress levels and boosting mental well-being.

The science, then, is obvious: biodiversity is vital not just for the health of our planet, but in addition for human mental health. Our research shows that biodiversity must be considered a part of the critical infrastructure of our cities.