You aren’t the only one who is anxious. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 1 of 5 Americans. Younger people especially just don’t feel secure, from climate change, to loan debt, to future jobs and technology replacement, to current politics, to random violence. But nature therapy?
It’s not just social and personal issues: air pollution worsens mental well-being too: Johns Hopkins researchers studied 70,000 U.S. women over decades and found that find particulate matter (PM 2.5, for 2.5 micron particle) seems to create or worsen anxiety.
With symptoms such as excessive worry, racing thoughts, irritability, and fatigue, anxiety makes changing habits and routines, like overeating and sedentariness, hard to sustain.
Yet spending time outside, among trees, gardens, orchards, parks, forests, water and animals, and away from the press of demands— could be your medicine too. And happily, if you’re unable to go outside, plants in offices clean the air, and reduce particle penetration into the lungs.
How it works: Significant effect on cortisol levels and parasympathetic nerve activity, for calming, have been found with only five minutes of being outside—as well as just viewing outside, smelling outside, or hearing outside when outside was a forest. Whether oxidation (or rusting inside) or chronic inflammation or just worsening of already existing diseases is the cause, no one knows.
Try: Try calm.com to improve mood and headspace.com to learn meditation. Play Google’s Ambient Sounds Playlist. Buy a quiet, Energy Star certified, well-designed HEPA Air purifier and four indoor, resilient air purification plants for your house or apartment.