Spending as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting may help college students feel happier, and reduce the effects of physical and mental stress, according to a research, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The study aims to provide an easily-achievable dosage that physicians can prescribe as a preventative measure against high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
The researchers performed a review of studies that examined the effects of nature on college students aged 15-30. The aim of the research was to discover the right amount of time students should be spending outside, and what they should be doing while they are there.
The researchers found that the range of 10-50 minutes in natural spaces was the most effective to improve mood, focus and physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate.
While outside, students only need to be sitting or walking to enjoy the positive effects, the two primary activities the researchers examined in an effort to provide accessible recommendations when the results are applied at schools.
When it comes to more urban universities, research suggests that adding green elements to a built space can produce the same results.
It is the time spent in nature, not necessarily nature itself, that is beneficial.
There is something specific that a student can aim for. Many students who are managing psychological issues are looking for non-pharmacological ways of improving their well-being. “This nature dose is an upstream ‘prevention’ approach to, hopefully, reduce the number of people getting to the point where a pharmacological approach becomes necessary,” says the research.