Spending time in outdoors, taking time out of every day to surround yourself with greenery and living things can be one of life’s great joys – and recent research also suggests it’s good for your body and your brain.
Scientists have found that spending two hours a week in nature is linked to better health and well-being. It’s maybe not entirely surprising then that some patients are increasingly being prescribed time in nature and community gardening projects as part of “green prescriptions” by the NHS. In Shetland, for example, islanders with depression and anxiety may be given “nature prescriptions”, with doctors there recommending walks and activities that allow people to connect with the outdoors.
Social prescriptions – non-medical treatments which have health benefits – are already used across the NHS to tackle anxiety, loneliness, and depression. They often involve the referral of patients to a community or voluntary organization, where they can carry out activities which help to meet their social and emotional needs, and increasingly doctors are opting for community gardening – as this also has the added benefit of involving time spent in nature – even in highly built-up areas.
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