Feeling Lonely? Go For a Solitary Walk in The Woods
Feelings of loneliness can be massively alleviated by getting in contactwith nature, especially for thoseliving in dense urban environments.
Researchers collected real-time data through the smartphone application UrbanMind to gauge the impact of the environment on mood.
What they found is that “perceived overcrowding” correlates with an increase inloneliness (specifically, an increase of 39% on average) while seeingnatural elements — like trees, the sky or birds — decreases lonely feelings by28%. It may seem obvious that fresh air and green grass make forfeelings of contentedness, but the idea of loneliness generally impliesfeelings of isolation from fellow humans — not the Earth and its naturalenvironments. Thus, the scientists are careful to contrast their findings onthe benefits of connectivity to nature with the drawbacks of thehyper-connectivity of the internet. “Despitethe ever increasing levels of social connectivity, loneliness as a form of‘social pain’ has become one of the defining issues of the modern society,”and too high a density of humans actually leads to feelings of unhappiness and,perhaps counterintuitively, loneliness.
They conclude that, “Specific measures, which would increase social inclusionand contact with nature while reducing overcrowding, should be implemented,especially in densely populated cities.”