Urbanization and its Connection to Mental Health
I recently read an article on the effects of over urbanization on the mental health of the population. Over the last 50 years there has been more development and a steep population increase in those living in cities. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that those who spend time in natural environments can concentrate better than those who do not. In Japan, they use the term ‘forest bathing’ to combat stress, anxiety, fatigue and anger by taking 3 day trips to the forest. The goal is to avoid the constant use of direct attention and the development of mental fatigue, which makes it harder to focus over time. The power of nature can also be used as a recovery aid after medical procedures. One study showed that those recovering from surgery did better (less painkillers, recovered faster and had less complications) when their rooms overlooked scenes of nature as opposed to a window that faced a brick wall. Our connection to nature cannot be ignored if we wish to be healthy and live high quality lives.