The Small Habit That Makes a Difference

            It can be easy to focus on the negatives in life, especially when it comes to income levels.  Having less disposable income leads to feelings that you aren’t able to enjoy as many activities or leisure than if you had more money.  Sometimes, the best things in life are free, as a recent study from the University of Vienna concludes.

                Despite having less income, people who regularly seek out contact with nature (walking in nature, visiting green spaces) have well-being levels that are equal with people who have more income.  This reinforces the knowledge that spending time outside is an important way to manage stress and improve mental health and sleep, as well as maintain better cognition.

                Over two thousand individuals participated in the study.  The participants with the highest level of life satisfaction and wellbeing did have the highest income levels--but when people with less income visited nature weekly for one year, it was boosted their wellbeing to a level that equaled an annual income increase of 1,000 Euros!

                If it seems difficult to get out into nature due to your schedule or location, there were also the same increases in wellbeing for people who had more greenery around their house and neighborhoods.  To make access to green spaces, like parks and nature centers, easier for those with lower incomes who sometimes find themselves unable to find transportation, initiatives are underway to ensure that an emphasis on greenery around urban areas and public routes of transportation are in everyone’s wheelhouse.

                It’s important to remember that small habits really do make a big difference when you can consistently provide your brain and body with fresh air and nature!


Further Reading

Leonie Fian, Mathew P. White, Arne Arnberger, Thomas Thaler, Anja Heske, Sabine Pahl. Nature visits, but not residential greenness, are associated with reduced income-related inequalities in subjective well-being. Health & Place, 2024; 85: 103175 DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2024.103175

Leave A Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published