By now, you've probably all heard or read that spending time in nature is good for us; natures inspires creativity, reduces stress, and can even make us kinder. Trees, especially, play an important role in good health. "The most obvious is their role in producing the oxygen we breathe and sequestering carbon dioxide to help protect our atmosphere; but science suggests trees provide other important benefits, too," says Dr. Jill Suttie.
Dr, Suttie lays out a few ways that trees help increase human well-being. Oh, and P.S. critters love and need trees, too!
1. Trees help humans feel less stress and more restores. “The psychological benefits of walking through forests are very significant, and forest environments are expected to have very important roles in promoting mental health in the future,” the authors write. Indeed, various other studies suggest that the practice of 'forest bathing'—deliberately spending time among the woods—can help us deal with the stresses and strains of urban living."
2. Trees improve human health. In addition to helping humans breathe, trees improve health in other ways, too. "Studies have shown that spending short amounts of time in forests seems to benefit our immune systems. One study suggests that trees may improve immunity thanks to certain aromatic compounds they release." Trees help heart-health, as well. Walking in nature helps to lower your blood pressure, cortisol levels, pulse rate, and sympathetic nervous system which is related to stress. Science suggests that walking in the woods improves cardiovascular function.
3. Trees in neighborhoods lead to less crime. "While some prior research has shown that green spaces reduce crime in urban settings, it may be that trees are even more effective. One City of Chicago study found that for every 10 percent increase in tree canopy cover, crime rates went down in several categories—11.3 percent for assaults, narcotics crimes, and robbery, and 10.3 percent for battery." And trees, it turns out are more predictive of crime than, say, parks and other green spaces. “Understanding the relationship between green space and crime can inform urban planning to improve human safety and well-being,” conclude the authors of the study. Earlier research has shown that vegetation around houses helps reduce people’s fear, incivility, and aggression—potential precursors to crime.
4. Trees may make humans more generous and trusting. Research suggests that nature experiences help us to feel kinder toward others, and many of those studies involve trees. In another study, researchers found that people were more willing to help someone who’d lost a glove if they had just spent time walking through a park with trees, rather than if they were near the entrance to the park.
So, if you take the tree benefits of less stress, better heart health, more social interactions, safer neighborhoods, as well as feeling more generous and trusting, and you stir them together, what do get? Feelings of happiness and well-being. Trees truly are amazing!
This does it for me for this week. I hope you'll plan on stopping back by next week. Until we meet again, I wish you a walk in a quiet woods, time spent this weekend with family and friends and, of course, much happiness.