Simply taking time to notice the nature around you can increase your general happiness and well-being, a study has found. Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada examined the connection between taking a moment to look at something from the natural environment and personal well-being. The study involved a two-week 'intervention' where 395 participants were asked to document how nature they encountered in their daily routine made them feel. They took a photo of the item that caught their attention and jotted down a short note about their feelings in response to it. In the study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, other participants tracked their reactions to human-made objects, took a photo and jotted down their feelings, while a third group did neither. Holli-Anne Passmore, a PhD psychology student at UBC, noted that examples of nature could be anything, not human-built: a houseplant, a dandelion growing in a crack in a sidewalk, birds, or sun through a window.
"This wasn't about spending hours outdoors or going for long walks in the wilderness," she said.
"This is about the tree at a bus stop in the middle of a city and the positive effect that one tree can have on people," Passmore added. There is scientific documentation that people who live in greenspaces generally seem to be happier, and may live longer than those who do not.
"The difference in participants' well-being - their happiness, sense of elevation, and their level of connectedness to other people, not just nature - was significantly higher than participants in the group noticing how human-built objects made them feel and the control group," she said