The Evolutionary Impact of Being In The Forest

The Evolutionary Impact of Being In The Forest

The modern world has many sources of stress and anxiety, leading people to seek refuge in nature for peace and relaxation. But being in the forest is more than just a momentary escape. Studies have shown that spending time in forests and other natural environments has a profound and lasting impact on mental health, and has the potential to change our behaviour and attitudes in positive ways.

In a study conducted by the University of East Anglia, researchers found that exposure to green spaces has a positive effect on mental wellbeing and can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Participants reported a decrease in negative thoughts and an increase in positive emotions, such as happiness, after spending time in green spaces. This supports the idea that nature is essential to our mental health, and that exposure to natural environments can help to promote a sense of peace and wellbeing.

The impact of nature on mental health goes beyond simply reducing stress and anxiety. Research has also shown that spending time in nature can lead to an increased sense of connection to the natural world, which has a positive impact on overall mental health. A study conducted by the University of Exeter found that exposure to nature increased feelings of gratitude, compassion, and kindness towards others. This increased sense of connection can help to create a more positive mindset and a greater appreciation for the world around us.

One of the most interesting findings of recent research on the impact of nature on mental health is that being in the forest has the potential to affect us at a genetic level. A study conducted by the University of the Ryukyus in Japan found that exposure to phytoncides, the volatile organic compounds emitted by trees, increased the number of natural killer cells in the body. These cells play a crucial role in fighting off viruses and cancer cells, and the increased number of natural killer cells observed in the study participants suggests that being in the forest can help to boost our immune system.

Being in the forest also has the potential to change our behaviour in positive ways. A study conducted by the University of Illinois found that exposure to nature can lead to a reduction in impulsive behaviour and an increase in self-control. Participants in the study reported that they were more likely to make healthier choices, such as eating more fruit and vegetables and avoiding junk food, after spending time in nature. This suggests that exposure to nature can help to promote a healthier lifestyle and a greater sense of self-discipline.

In addition to its impact on mental health and behaviour, being in the forest has also been shown to have a positive impact on our creativity and problem-solving skills. A study conducted by the University of Utah found that participants who spent time in nature were more likely to come up with creative solutions to problems and were more likely to find innovative ways to approach complex challenges. This suggests that exposure to nature can help to foster creative thinking and a greater ability to think outside the box.

Finally, it is important to note that being in the forest is not just beneficial for mental health, but also for our physical health. A study conducted by the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan found that spending time in the forest can help to lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. This suggests that exposure to nature can help to improve our physical wellbeing and reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.

In conclusion, being in the forest has a profound and lasting impact on mental health, and has the potential to change our behaviour and attitudes in positive ways. From reducing stress and anxiety, to promoting a sense of connection and compassion, to improving creativity and problem-solving skills, the benefits of spending time in nature are numerous and varied. So, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, head to the nearest forest and take your RiseHwy99 hat with you!

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