Inspired by the food pyramid, Tim Beatley’s team at the University of Virginia have synthesised the research on our current understanding of what dose of nature is effective for supporting mental health and well-being. It goes like this:
On a daily basis, it is recommended to make moments of exposure to nature, from looking out of the office window onto a verdant patch regularly, to slipping out into the garden with a cuppa for five minutes before the day starts. On a weekly basis, it is recommended to take at least 45 minutes exposure into nature with a longer walk in a nearby park or nature reserve. Some research has shown that this can be split into several doses of 10-15 minutes across the week to be effective. It is thought this weekly dose keeps wellbeing levels topped up for the week’s duration. On an occasional, monthly, basis it is also recommended to get away for a weekend for a fuller immersion into nature, somewhere more lush and wild to stimulate creativity, significantly lower stress levels and prevent ill-health. Then, on an annual or bi-annual basis, head to the mountains, waters or other wilderness, to take a deep dive into nature and disconnect from daily demands and screens.
While research is still in its infancy and at the cutting edge of understanding, we are beginning to find overlaps in the findings which are forming an emerging message. We will bring you more news as it arises.