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Green space contributes to less stressful living

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A new study shows that the stress level of an unemployed person is related more to their environment than age, gender, degree of deprivation and even disposable income. In other words, the presence of parks and woodland areas, aka green space, may help people deal with job loss, chronic fatigue and anxiety, even post-traumatic stress disorder. The more green space there is, the less stress.

Researchers measured stress by finding cortisol levels in the saliva samples of a group of 35to 55 year olds. Cortisol is the hormone related to stress. They discovered that if the space surrounding a person’s living space is less than 30% green, the people show unhealthy levels of cortisol. For every one percent increase in green space, there was a corresponding decline in stress. Either people living in or around green don’t get stressed to begin with or they deal with it much better than those of us locked into cement and steel.

When people were asked to self-identify stress levels, those in the highest green areas reported less stress.

“Given the increasing levels of stress and poor mental health suffered by people in Scotland, this is an exciting breakthrough. For the first time, researchers have worked with unemployed people from deprived areas and used scientific tests to show that, where there is more green space around, people’s stress levels were measurably lower, while less green space was linked with signs of body’s hormones not working properly,” said Catharine Ward Thompson, director of OPEN space research centre.

Source: University of Edinburgh, MedicalNewsToday

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