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Noticing this linked to 'significantly higher' level of happiness

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.”

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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.”

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mental health
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