Did you invite your best friend to travel this summer? Scientists say social relationships and the natural environment will both help you relieve stress and strengthen your mental health. In other words, it’s a way to make us happier.
Since the 19th century, doctors in Europe have known the benefits of exposure to nature, especially the ocean. They even advised patients to go on holiday as a prescription. “hydrotherapy“(hydrotherapy) for a range of conditions, from cancer to mental illness or people experiencing stress, anxiety disorders.
A similar method performed by Japanese doctors is called “shinrin-yoku“, means jungle bathing. In it, patients or the average person are advised to take trips into the forests to relieve stress.
In modern scientific studies, scientists call the sea “blue zone ” and the forest is “green zone“. Both “green area“These have very significant mental health benefits.
But if in a summer, you are only allowed to choose a tour, going to the forest or going to the beach will make you happier? And who should you go with and what to do to best take care of your soul?
Research below will help you answer this question.
According to UN statistics, about 55% of the world’s population lives in cities around the globe. The figure could rise to 66% by the middle of the century. And that is a trend that is detrimental to our mental health.
Cities and cities often have polluted air, pressurized living environment and adversely affect both physical and mental health of people. On the contrary, natural spaces like forests, mountains and islands can help us relieve stress and be happier.
In 2013, scientists at University College London conducted a major study to demonstrate the benefits of nature to human mental health. They surveyed a total of more than 20,000 people via a mobile app at random times of day.
Phone users are asked to describe their feelings and grade their happiness on a scale of 0-100. In addition, they will answer questions about the surroundings where they are, what the weather is, who they sit with, and what are they doing?
The GPS coordinates of the phone are collected along with the user’s self-declared data to collate where they are.
The results showed that compared to the level chosen as the basis – being a person living in a house in the middle of an urban area – people on the coast or the coastal area had an average happiness level higher than 6.02. points (equivalent to 6%). Compared to a person working at the office, the figure is 8.61%.
The sea is the most blissful natural setting than any other, leaving the mountains and forests in second place only helps to increase 2.71 and 2.12 points, respectively. Living in the suburbs helps someone happier in the city 0.88 points, and having a vacant lot in front of the house in the city is still happier than staying in the house close to 0.37 points.
The benefits of sailing are more amplified during the summer. Because compared to the autumn and winter with temperatures below 24 degrees, the happiness that people report is only up to 1% maximum. But summer days above 24 degrees C will increase happiness by 5.13%.
Outdoor activities also help you increase your happiness. Accordingly, playing sports, jogging or exercising can increase 6.51% on the happiness scale. Sitting alone watching nature or listening to birds singing will increase by 4.32 points. Gardening increased 3.55 points, hunting or fishing increased 2.28 points and walking and climbing increased 2.55 points.
In particular, the study examines the impact of people next to each person’s happiness. They found that being with a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse can increase 4.51% on the happiness scale. Staying with a friend is equally beneficial as they will help you increase 4.38 points.
Family members showed a slight increase of only 0.75%, with children and young children at 0.27%. On the contrary, being with a social acquaintance or a college friend, a classmate (not close) will reduce happiness by 0.83 and 0.29%, respectively.
Research shows that you can even add variables together to get a final comparison result. For example, if you had a beach trip (+ 6.02%) with your partner (+ 4.51%) this summer (+5,31), and you two took advantage of an early morning wake up session fitness (+6.51), the happiness level will then increase by 6.02 + 4.51 + 5.31 + 6.51 = 22.35%.
This level of happiness can completely compensate for a sick day in bed, when scientists estimate this situation will cause you to lose 19.65% of the points on the scale.
Now, try putting these numbers into a spreadsheet to see in different scenarios, how happy you will be:
So, perhaps you have got the answer to the question: Where should you go out this summer, with whom? Of course, this study is for reference only, because the numbers are added to the average.
However, with a collection of more than 20,000 people taking the survey, it’s likely that these results will work for you too. And an undeniable common rule, temporarily leaving work, the cramped cities to travel and interact with nature will always help us become happier.
The research is published in the journal Global Environmental Change.