Planet Ark News

Adding Trees - A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment

Date: 06-Jul-16
Author: Hasmukh Chand

Adding Trees Research thumbnail 2016 © Hasmukh Chand

Adding Trees Research thumbnail 2016

We are increasingly turning towards technology to make our lives easier. We are continuously bombarded with information to the point where we cannot distinguish between work-life and home-life. Getting the balance right becomes difficult. The connections we used to make with our familiy, friends and neighbours are now increasingly becoming virtual.

In fact, Planet Ark's latest research sponsored by Toyota Australia; Adding Trees - A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment, has found that 51% of Australians turn to social media as a form of stress management. Ironically, social media can majke us feel stressed, depressed and even isolated from eveyone.  

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Associate Professor Tonia Gray, a specialist in Pedagogy and Learning at Western Sydney University, says our nature-estranged lifestyle can be directly related to our over-reliance on screen time over green time. "Yet we now recognise the importance nature connectedness as a determinant of health and wellbeing". 

National Tree Day Manager, Debbie Agnew says that the latest Planet Ark research shows that a "prescription" for adding nature into our lives can help enhance many aspects of our lives. Overcoming these technological challenges is simple. 

"In this digital age, Planet Ark is encouraging everyone to take 10 minutes outside and connect with nature. Participating in a National Tree Day activity in your community, workplace, schools or backyard is a great way to reconnect" Debbie says. 

The research revealed that 86% of Australians who have a close connection to nature are significantly more likely to consider themselves happy in life overall. When we spend time in nature, our brain produces more dopamine, a chemical reward that induces positive feelings such as self-worth, calmness and relaxation. 

Simply stopping to smell the flowers can reduce out chances of developing a range of diseases. According to the latest research, time in nature can reduce diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and depression by 43%, 37% and 25% respectively. 

Teenagers and young children gain the greatest benefits of spending time connected with nature. Over the past few years, research by Planet Ark has shown improvements in academic performance in students who participated in outdoor learning programs. This is once again confirmed by the latest research. 

It seems like even ten minutes a day in nature will significant benefits to our health and wellbeing. Here are a few ways you can start to maximise your daily dose of nature induced happiness, wellbeing and connect with your family, friends and neighbours at the same time. 


Be sure to check out the full Research Report

Hasmukh                                           Chand

Author: Hasmukh Chand

Hasmukh joined Planet Ark to support the National Tree Day campaign. He has a wealth of experience working with other great environmental organisations, as well as a degree in environmental science. Hasmukh also volunteers with the SES and continues to support other environment groups as a volunteer.

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