The more green space where you live, the happier you are—and some surprising new statistics prove it.
When satellite data were compared with a survey of 2,500 Wisconsinites in 229 neighborhoods, it revealed that people living in areas with less than 10% “tree canopy” were much more likely to feel depressed, stressed, and anxious.
Amazingly, the results weren’t skewed by wealth: Poorer residents in greener areas were, in general, happier than richer ones in treeless areas, says the study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
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“Nature can provide relief from our daily need to complete tasks, providing us with something inherently fascinating that holds our attention without our having to work at it,” says study co-author Kirsten Beyer, Ph.D. Plus, she adds, the outdoors also promotes physical activity and social interaction—both known stress relievers.
If there isn’t much foliage around your crib, don’t panic: Related studies also show you’ll feel happier and healthier if you have live plants in your indoor spaces—so green up your home or office (see left) and start chilling out.