Green space essential for human health

Posted by Karen in Uncategorized

It makes me very happy to see more and more research being published which supports my own experience that spending time in natural surroundings benefits our health.

For many of us, these positive impacts are a no-brainer, and yet it seems such hard work to convince bodies like the NHS, city planners or educators to integrate green spaces and outdoor activities into their planning, treatments and curricula. Is it, I wonder, because we have become so alienated from our very source of origin – nature?

We may not consciously remember our source of origin, but our unconscious minds and bodies know what is good for us. Our affinity to nature may have been subdued in urban city life but there is good evidence that we have a strong need to spend time in natural settings. Picture life in London once the sun shines – our parks fill as we connect with our favourite green spaces.

The latest research by Frances ‘Ming’ Kuo (University of Illinois) Parks and Other Green Environments: Essential Components of a Healthy Human confirms that access to green space is an essential component for good health. Kuo studied the effect of green space on humans in a number of settings in order to prove or disprove the popular notion of the healing power of nature. Drawing on a wide range of research from the last decade she found that in areas with good access to green spaces “people are more generous and more sociable. We find stronger neighborhood social ties and a greater sense of community, more mutual
trust and willingness to help others”. She also goes on to say that access to nature and green environments yields better cognitive functioning, more self-discipline and impulse control, and greater mental health overall.

This research confirms my own experience of coaching clients outdoors in London’s green space.  Many come away saying “Oh yes, now I know why you work with clients outdoors, it’s great and I feel so much more grounded, and more positive about life in general.” (See further testimonials here)

So coaching while walking not only offers people space to find solutions to problems but it also provides some quality time in nature to recharge your batteries.

Karen

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