Being outside is good for your health!
‘If Every Household in England were provided with good access to quality green space it would save an estimated £2.1 billion in healthcare costs’ – Dr William Bird
‘Green Therapy’ (also known as eco therapy) is on the rise, having been found to significantly enhance both mental and physical health, as well as boosting energy levels and ensuring you get your vitamin D quota! This is one of the reasons heritage sites such as Ayscoughfee Hall Museum and Gardens are so important – providing accessible, quality outdoor spaces for people.
As environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon says, ‘just looking at a garden or trees or going for a walk, even if it’s in your own neighbourhood, reduces stress’. One theory behind this effect is that we naturally respond positively to what we instinctively know is good for us – trees for example can offer both shade and food, providing protection and nourishment. The mental health organisation, Mind, published one study that found taking a walk in nature to decrease depression scores in 71% of participants. This particular study included a control group who also took a walk, but in a shopping mall – this walk did also result in reduced depression scores, but only by 45%, and 22% of the walkers actually reported an increase in levels of depression.
In today’s society where stress and anxiety issues are growing ever more prevalent, Green Therapy should not be overlooked, and spaces like the gardens at Ayscoughfee should be utilised effectively.
By Elsa Trueman, Resilience Syndicate Intern at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum and Gardens