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The sight of nature keeps us from unhealthy behavior
For many people, there is nothing better than looking at nature. Even most nature muffins prefer to look at a natural landscape from the office or at home rather than at the opposite wall of a house. An English research team has now shown that just seeing nature has a healing effect and reduces the craving for unhealthy things like cigarettes, alcohol, fast food and sweets.
Researchers from the University of Plymouth examined the effect of regular sighting of green spaces on humans. It was found that people who look at a green area from home or from their work place reach health-indulgent luxury goods at a lower frequency and show a weaker desire for them. The study results were recently presented in the journal "Health & Place".
Nature radiates a passive healing power
An earlier study showed that exercise in nature can help with addiction. Building on this, the research team led by Leanne Martin has now shown that the pure sight of natural surfaces, regardless of the movement, has a passive effect on human desire. “The fact that the sight of nature is associated with human desire adds a new dimension to previous research,” explains Martin.
The first study of its kind
"This is the first study to examine this idea," emphasizes the research director. The insights could have a number of future public health and environmental protection impacts, pointing out the need to protect and expand green spaces in cities to maximize public benefit.
Nature soothes desire
The study participants shared extensive information about how much green space is in their environment and how often they tend to behave unhealthily. This included smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol and unhealthy eating, for example. The evaluation showed a clear connection between the proportion of green spaces in the area and the frequency with which the participants tended to behave unhealthily.
25 percent green space around the house
The desire for unhealthy people decreased with people who have more than 25 percent of their green spaces. The same was seen in people who have access to a garden. This effect could have a direct impact on people's health, because smoking, alcohol, and unhealthy eating contribute to the biggest health problems of our time, such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
A promising first step
The researchers point out that the causality of this connection must be investigated further. "Showing that green spaces are associated with a lower desire is a promising first step," summarizes psychology professor Dr. Sabine Pahl from the study team. Future research will now examine in more detail whether and how natural areas can be used to withstand cravings and cravings so that attempts to distance oneself from harmful consumption become more promising. (vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- University of Plymouth: Seeing greenery linked to less intense and frequent cravings (access: July 12, 2019), plymouth.ac.uk
- Martin, Leanne / Pahl, Sabine / White, Mathew P. / u .: Natural environments and craving: The mediating role of negative affect, Health & Place, Volume 58, 2019, sciencedirect.com