New study shows spending time outside can improve one's mood
A new study conducted by two research students at the University of Regina has found that being outside in nature for five minutes can positively improve someone’s mood.
“Whenever you need a mood boost, five minutes spent in nature is an easy way to do it,” said Dr. Katherine Arbuthnott, Professor of Psychology. “It’s very accessible, it doesn’t cost anything, no terrible side effects.
University of Regina students, Janelle Gerard and Calum Neill, conducted the study. Gerard’s study consisted of having participating students sit outside in nature or inside a room with no windows for five minutes and Neill’s students sat outside or inside for fifteen minutes. 123 students participated in the study. The half who sat in a room with no windows noticed no significant improvement to their mood. Meanwhile, the other half sat on a bench outside around Wascana Park and all noticed improvements to their mood.
"Take five minutes of your day, go out in nature and that would result in significant mood improvements and can be used as a mood regulation strategy," said Janelle Gerard.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. The supervising professor of the research said what she found most interesting was there was no significant improvement in mood between students sitting outside in nature for five minutes compared to those who sat outside for fifteen minutes.
“The surprise was that the effects weren’t any different at fifteen minutes,” said Arbuthnott. “People who spent fifteen minutes in nature showed the same effects as people who spent five minutes.”
Gerard said she thinks this research is important because of the high rates of anxiety and depression among her peers.
"I just think you know prioritizing self-care is so important for our mental health and we should all make an effort and try to and do that," said Gerard.