Nature affects happiness

Caitlyn Allen, Editor

Hiking. Habits. Happiness.

         Researchers did a study on kids that examined the impact of a group of childrens “connectedness to nature” on their “sustainable behaviors and happiness.” The research shows that those who connected to nature “engaged in altruism, actively cared for the environment by recycling, reusing objects, and saving water, they are more likely to say they believed in equality among sexes, races, and socioeconomic conditions, and finally, they scored higher on the happiness scale.”

   These scientists say we “don’t have to be experts in environmental science or nature studies,” but what is more important is “spending time together with children by exploring curiosity in a safe and fun environment.”

     Another study done in 2015 showed that people who take walks in nature report less negative thoughts. The government officials in Scotland is so amazed by the mental and physical health benefits of nature that they are encouraging doctors to give “nature prescriptions to help treat high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.”

     On a poll done by 150 North Harford students, 95 percent say that they are happier when they are in nature. The students listed many different activities that they love to participate in nature such as taking their dog on a walk, hiking, hammocking, swimming, meditation, or even just sitting outside in the sun. When these students are participating in these activities, they claim they feel “happy, free, and relaxed.”

     According to a professor at Texas State University, even “passive interactions with nature gives back to us by healing us of problems with stress, anxiety, and helping us to focus better.” She also claims that active participation in gardens can help children eat better, get more exercise, and have better attitudes toward school and interpersonal relationships.”

         While many students like doing physical activities in nature, some students just like the views and feelings they get from being outside. Junior Jackie McGowan states she feels “free” from the “green of everything and the fresh air.” Sophomore Gwen Kapinos states being in nature is “so peaceful” and “gives you a feeling connected to earth.” Junior Tristan Pomeroy states he loves “enjoying the views and surroundings” and it makes him feel “free.”  Junior Nicole Hackett loves “walking her dog” for relaxation. Hackett doesn’t just enjoy nature herself, she “talks to her dog and helps her enjoy nature, too.”