The Solace of Nature

You can reduce unhealthy cravings by just looking at green spaces.

Posted Jul 22, 2019

Patricia Prijatel
Just looking at this view can reduce your cravings for alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food.
Source: Patricia Prijatel

More reason to spend time in nature: Just the sight of green spaces reduces your cravings for alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food, according to research from Britain's University of Plymouth. Researchers measured the amount of green space in an individual's neighborhood, the green views from their home, their access to a garden or other greenery, and how frequently they used public parks and green spaces.

The Results

  • Access to a garden or green space was associated with lower craving strength and frequency, as was a residential view with more than 25 percent green space.
  • Cravings were reduced even without physical activity.

Leanne Martin, who led the research as part of her Master’s degree through the University’s School of Psychology, says:

“It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s well-being. 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.”

More reason to plant a tree, grow some prairie grass, tend some flowers, and protect the nature around us. All you have to do is look at nature, and it heals.

READ MORE: Yes, You Can Bathe in the Forest: A few hours in a natural environment and your blood pressure and stress drop.

The research was supported by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter.