There’s a direct link between stopping to smell the roses and happiness, new research confirms.
The connection between simply taking a moment to notice nature and the natural environment occurring around you can enhance your well-being, according to a new study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.
In a two week “intervention,” volunteers took note of how the nature in their everyday lives made them feel. They took a picture of something living and kept a journal about their own responses. The piece of nature could be anything from a house plant to a weed growing out of the sidewalk, a bird or even the sunlight. A second group of participants did the same for man-made objects not occurring naturally and a third, serving as a control, did neither.
“This wasn’t about spending hours outdoors or going for long walks in the wilderness,” author of the study Holli-Anne Passmore told Science Daily. “This is about the tree at a bus stop in the middle of a city and the positive effect that one tree can have on people.”
Passmore said she was “overwhelmed” by the more than 2,500 pictures and emotions her 395 participants logged for the study. Those who noticed something from nature in their lives had a “significantly higher” level of happiness and more profound sense of elevation.
It has been well documented that people who live among greenery are generally happier but this research is going a step further in tracking happiness.
“The difference in participants’ well-being — their happiness, sense of elevation, and their level of connectedness to other people, not just nature,” Passmore said, “was significantly higher than participants in the group noticing how human-built objects made them feel and the control group.”