With the current rise of urbanization and an increase in the built environment within many cosmopolitan neighborhoods, it comes as no surprise that nature may not be as easily accessible as it once was. However, now more than ever as many find themselves hunched over their computers, cooped up inside all day, or baring the frontlines as an essential worker, the importance of spending time in nature has never been so necessary.
Although it may seem like a suggestion to retreat in the deep woods, for many living in a city or city-like suburban area, time spent in nature could mean a nice stroll through the nearest park or browsing a community garden. Whatever this looks like for you, research has shown the astounding correlation between spending time in nature and an increase in overall wellbeing.
In one study, researchers tested the correlation between one’s time in contact with nature and their reportings of good health and overall well-being. Overall, they found that individuals who spent nearly two hours or more in nature a week reported more positive results than those who did not spend at least two hours a week in nature.
There are many aspects that contribute to this positive reaction, one of which is the increase in the free use of our accessible senses. When in nature, most people begin to feel mindful of their generally open and calmer surroundings, thus benefiting from an increase in social, physical, spiritual, and psychological well-being.
Who wouldn’t want to reap these benefits, especially during a time of collective heightened anxiety? Additionally, wouldn’t one want their neighbors to experience the same benefits of nature? Thus, we must work to preserve our parks and community gardens, especially in major cities where the built environment seems to be taking over. Luckily, many of the ways to help these green spaces are by actually spending time in them!
Some ways to contribute to the maintenance and preservation of your community’s green space are:
Support and volunteer at your local community garden. If you are unable to volunteer and would still like to contribute, donating to community gardens through the initiatives fighting for environmental justice on the local level.
Make the time to get outside and enjoy your local parks, gardens, and green spaces! Not only will this benefit your wellbeing, but it will also allow you to connect with your local community.
Stella Brown is an editorial and marketing intern for Ideamix. She is currently a Junior at Barnard College majoring in urban studies with a concentration in sociology. Stella is interested in the connection between small businesses and city life.