Living close to nature appears to lower your risk of depression and improve your brain function. In a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers from several universities, including Harvard and Boston University, collected data from almost 14,000 women with an average age of just over 60. They measured attention, learning, working memory, and psychomotor speed – or the speed of thinking measured through action. They also assessed each participant’s nearby residential green space. The researchers found that green space exposure was associated with lower depression, as well as faster thinking skills and better ability to concentrate. The researchers believe spending time in nature offers opportunities for physical activity and social connection, as well as stress relief from noise and air pollution. If you don’t live near green spaces, the authors of the study say you can get many of the same benefits by having indoor plants, looking at trees though the windows, getting involved in a community garden, or even looking at pictures of green spaces.
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