Looking at a green scenery from the window is more powerful than we can imagine. The simple action of seeing a greenery – whether a group of trees, shrubs, garden or vegetable garden – is linked to a subdued craving for substances related to vice, such as cigarettes, alcohol and unhealthy food.
A research carried out at Plymouth University (United Kingdom) showed a breakthrough on the human-greenery relationship. This work started based on studies about the benefits of exercising in green spaces and, it turns out, confirmed the hypothesis that mere passive exposure is enough to lower the craving for those sorts of vices.
“It’s been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s wellbeing,” said, in a statement, Leanne Martin, study leader. “ But for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research. This is the first study to explore this idea, and it could have a range of implications for both public health and environmental protection programs in the future.
What does the research say?
The researcher provided volunteers an online quiz about their relation with nature and on the intensity and frequency of their cravings related to vices. From there, Martin calculated the proportion and amount of green space in the respondents’ neighborhood, landscape with green spots from their home and how often they used public green spaces.
Results showed that access to a garden or vegetable garden or even a window overlooking a rife of greenery indicate lower craving for consumption of harmful substances, both in intensity and frequency.
“Craving contributes to a variety of health-damaging behaviors such as smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating. In turn, these can contribute to some of the greatest global health challenges of our time, including cancer, obesity and diabetes,” explained Sabine Pahl, psychology professor at the same Institution. “Showing that lower craving is linked to more exposure to green spaces is a promising first step”, she completed.
Content published in August 9, 2019