The Simplest Way To Recharge During Your Time Off, According To 100+ Studies

The results come from 140 studies on 290 million people.

The results come from 140 studies on 290 million people.

Spending time outside in green spaces reduces stress, improves sleep and has a host of health benefits, research finds.

On top of the psychological benefits, over one hundred studies have linked being closer to nature to health benefits like lower risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Ms Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, the study’s first author, said:

“Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood.

We gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people to see whether nature really does provide a health boost.”

Ms Twohig-Bennett explained the study’s results:

“We found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits.

It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.

People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.”

The Japanese have long enjoyed ‘Shinrin yoku,’ or the practice of ‘forest bathing‘.

Ms Twohig-Bennett said:

“Forest bathing is already really popular as a therapy in Japan — with participants spending time in the forest either sitting or lying down, or just walking around.

Our study shows that perhaps they have the right idea!”

It’s not clear exactly what causes the benefits, but Ms Twohig-Bennett speculates:

“People living near greenspace likely have more opportunities for physical activity and socialising.

Meanwhile, exposure to a diverse variety of bacteria present in natural areas may also have benefits for the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Much of the research from Japan suggests that phytoncides — organic compounds with antibacterial properties — released by trees could explain the health-boosting properties of forest bathing.”

The study was published in the journal Environmental Research (Twohig-Bennett & Jones, 2018).

These Vegetarian And Vegan Diets Are Linked To Depression (M)

Plant-based food diets are not inherently healthy: for body or mind.

Plant-based food diets are not inherently healthy: for body or mind.

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How Sibling Bullying Affects Mental Health (M)

Around 30 percent of young people are thought to be victimised in one way or another.

Around 30 percent of young people are thought to be victimised in one way or another.

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The Dietary Changes That Benefit Women’s Mental Health

Dietary changes are the first choice for women to overcome mental problems such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Dietary changes are the first choice for women to overcome mental problems such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Dietary factors have a much bigger impact on women’s mood and mental health than men’s, but exercise can get rid of mental distress caused by specific foods in women.

Gender and brain maturity are two key factors that influence mental health.

A study wanted to see if gender and brain maturity, when combined with diet, can influence mental health.

They tested if changing diet based on individual requirements would improve a person’s mood aged 30 years or older.

Researchers wanted to know what type of exercise and diet make people feel better and can enhance their mental wellbeing.

The study showed that customizing diet and exercise improves women’s mental health more than men’s.

Dr Lina Begdache, the study’s first author, said:

“We found a general relationship between eating healthy, following healthy dietary practices, exercise and mental well-being.

Interestingly, we found that for unhealthy dietary patterns, the level of mental distress was higher in women than in men, which confirmed that women are more susceptible to unhealthy eating than men.”

These findings suggest that a healthy diet combined with physical activity may be the first choice for women to overcome mental problems such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Dr Begdache said:

“Fast food, skipping breakfast, caffeine and high-glycemic (HG) food are all associated with mental distress in mature women.

Fruits and dark green leafy vegetables (DGLV) are associated with mental well-being.

The extra information we learned from this study is that exercise significantly reduced the negative association of HG food and fast food with mental distress.”

Personalised nutrition plans and exercise, together with good sleep quality have been shown to improve mental health in all adults.

The study was published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine (Begdache & Patrissy, 2021).

Spend This Long In Nature To Feel Fantastic (M)

How long to spend in nature to feel the greatest improvements to mood and reductions in anxiety.

How long to spend in nature to feel the greatest improvements to mood and reductions in anxiety.

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A Key Element Links Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar And More (M)

Problems with interoception link many mental health issues including anxiety, major depression, bipolar, anorexia and schizophrenia.

Problems with interoception link many mental health issues including anxiety, major depression, bipolar, anorexia and schizophrenia.

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How To Overcome The Main Barrier To Exercise (M)

Stress and anxiety make it particularly hard for people to exercise, the study found.

Stress and anxiety make it particularly hard for people to exercise, the study found.

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Teenagers Now Have More Mental Health Problems Than Ever

This generation is under increasing psychological pressure.

This generation is under increasing psychological pressure.

Mental health problems are on the rise among teenagers, research finds.

Depression has risen by around two-thirds in teenagers, in comparison to the previous generation.

Teenagers are now also more likely to self-harm, be overweight, sleep deprived and to suffer body image problems.

However, modern teenagers are less likely to perpetrate antisocial behaviour or drink and take drugs.

Dr Suzanne Gage, study co-author, said:

“It has seemed for a while that mental health difficulties in young people are on the rise, but this study really highlights the scale at which this increase might be occurring.

The next step is to understand why these increases are occurring, so young people can be supported better.”

The conclusions come from data culled from two British studies.

One followed 5,600 children born in 1991-92, the second followed 11,000 born in 2000-01.

The results showed that modern teenagers are in worse psychological shape than those born ten years before.

Almost 15 percent of teenagers reported being depressed in 2015, compared with 9 percent in 2005.

Self-harm had increased from 12 percent to 14 percent.

Along with depressive symptoms rising by two-thirds, obesity had almost doubled in the ten years.

Dr Praveetha Patalay, the study’s first author, said:

“The increasing trends of poor sleep, obesity and negative body image might help explain rising mental health difficulties experienced by young people.

Where the trends are moving in opposite directions – decreasing substance use and antisocial behaviour – the interpretation becomes more complicated.

Identifying explanations for these high prevalences and changing trends are key for preventing further poor physical and mental health for future generations of young people.”

→ Read on: 3 signs of depression in young people.

The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (Patalay & Gage, 2019).

One Portion Of These Foods Boosts Mental Health

Just one portion has the same positive effect as going for a walk on 8 extra days a month.

Just one portion has the same positive effect as going for a walk on 8 extra days a month.

People who eat more fruit and vegetables have better mental health, research finds.

Indeed, the more fruit and vegetables people eat, the better their state of mind.

Eating just one extra portion of fruit and vegetables per day is enough to measurably improve mental well-being.

Just one portion has the same positive effect as going for a walk on 8 extra days a month.

Only around one-in-ten people in the US eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.

The recommended amount in the US is 1½ to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables.

Dr Neel Ocean, the study’s first author, said:

“It’s well-established that eating fruit and vegetables can benefit physical health.

Recently, newer studies have suggested that it may also benefit psychological well-being.

Our research builds on previous work in Australia and New Zealand by verifying this relationship using a much bigger UK sample.

While further work is needed to demonstrate cause and effect, the results are clear: people who do eat more fruit and vegetables report a higher level of mental well-being and life satisfaction than those who eat less.”

The study followed many thousands of people across seven years.

The study controlled for other factors, like lifestyle, education, health status and other aspects of the diet.

Dr Peter Howley, study co-author, said:

“There appears to be accumulating evidence for the psychological benefits of fruits and vegetables.

Despite this, the data show that the vast majority of people in the UK still consume less than their five-a-day.

Encouraging better dietary habits may not just be beneficial to physical health in the long run but may also improve mental well-being in the shorter term.”

The study was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine (Ocean et al., 2019).

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