Nature may improve mental health amid COVID-19 pandemic

Sebastian Voortman/Pexels

Nature around one's home may help mitigate some of the negative mental health effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new study published in the journal Ecological Applications.

An online questionnaire survey completed by 3,000 adults in in Tokyo, Japan, quantified the link between five mental-health outcomes, depression, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness, and two measures of nature experiences, frequency of greenspace use and green view through windows from home.

More frequent greenspace use and the existence of green window views from the home were associated with increased levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness, as well as decreased levels of depression and loneliness.

"Our results suggest that nearby nature can serve as a buffer in decreasing the adverse impacts of a very stressful event on humans," said Masashi Soga, PhD, lead author of the study from The University of Tokyo, in a statement. "Protecting natural environments in urban areas is important not only for the conservation of biodiversity, but also for the protection of human health."

Editor's note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.