8th of October is Sustainability Day!
As climate change and ecological degradation’s effects on our mental health becomes more severe, we must all do our best to protect not just the environment, but also our mental well-being. Therefore, on this Sustainability Day, we have collaborated with Healthy University Leiden to focus on the relationship between our mental health and green spaces!
Now more than ever before, it has become very important to manage the stress and anxiety that we encounter in our daily lives. One way of doing that is by exposing ourselves to greener spaces. Research has consistently shown that greenery has a positive impact on both our physical and mental well-being.
Green spaces have a positive impact on:
- Stress: Access to nature has been found to improve sleep and reduce stress, increase happiness and reduce negative emotions, promote positive social interactions and even help generate a sense of meaning to life.
- Creativity: Being in green environments boosts various aspects of thinking and cognition including attention, memory, and most importantly, creativity.
- Sleep: Research has shown that exposure to pollution can damage the central nervous system. Spending more time in green spaces helps mitigate noise pollution, which often causes sleep disturbance, affecting our overall mental and physical health.
- Community: Socializing in nature can reduce loneliness, anxiety, and depression. It can also bring people together in a community. Certainly, being part of a supportive community is good for mental health.
To read more about the impact or nature on our mental health, read: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24933270-800-green-spaces-arent-just-for-nature-they-boost-our-mental-health-too/
Here are some tips on how we can all utilize Green Spaces to improve our mental health:
Start actively spending more time in green spaces!
Instead of studying indoors, try studying in a space surrounded by nature. Leiden University has worked hard to develop and maintain green spaces that are biodiverse and accessible to everyone. Some of these spaces include the Hortus Botanicus, the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Singelpark near the Humanities campus!
Leiden’s Biodiversity Project
Recently, LUGO has teamed up with the Hortus Botanicus to make the buildings and the area surrounding it more biodiverse by introducing a varied species of plants and flowers! This project has started with the area outside the old University Library and you can read more about it our project website page!
Grow a little garden in your room
Start making your living space greener to bring some positive energy into your own personal space by planting some seeds and propagating some easy- to grow plants.
Study about the impact of the environment on our psychology
If you are interested in studying the implications of the environment on the human psyche for your personal well-being, or want to dig deeper into this topic, consider following the study elective called ‘Environmental Psychology’ that is provided by Leiden University’s Psychology Department!