People can Cope Better With Stress If They are Surrounded by Green Spaces

by Kathy Jones on Feb 21 2012 8:51 PM

 People can Cope Better With Stress If They are Surrounded by Green Spaces
A new study has found that the greater the greenery, the calmer a person staying in the area is likely to be. This is particularly true for those coping with job losses or suffering from chronic anxiety.
Catharine Ward Thompson, director of OPENspace Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, said, "Given the increasing levels of stress and poor mental health suffered by people, this is an exciting breakthrough," the journal Landscape and Urban Planning reported.

"Researchers have worked with unemployed people from deprived areas and used scientific tests to show that, where there is more green space around, people's stress levels were measurably lower, while less green space was linked with signs of the body's hormones not working properly," added Thompson.

They measured stress by taking saliva samples from a group of 35-55 year olds in Dundee (Scotland) and gauging levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, said a university statement.

They found that if less than 30 percent of a person's surrounding area was green space, its population showed unhealthy levels of cortisol.

The study shows that for every one percent increase in green space there was a corresponding steeper decline in stress levels. Where there is more green space, people tend to respond better to disruptive events, either by not getting as stressed in the first place or by coping better.