Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Plan to be Outside

Time spent in nature (TSN) is associated with better mental and physical health.  TSN includes urban greenspace, residential and neighborhood gardens, parks, beaches, fields, and forests. 

Researchers developed and tested scales to measure TSN self-efficacy (confidence in the ability to take action and persist with an action plan to spend time in nature despite obstacles) and intentions (planning to spend time in nature during the following 3 months).  They surveyed over 2,000 adults.  Their goal was to improve interventions that help people plan to spend time in natural settings.

Prior research has demonstrated that TSN improves stress, anxiety, emotion regulation, immune system response, social cohesion, physical activity levels, and cognitive recovery.  Feeling connected to nature is also associated with enhanced well-being and pro-environmental behaviors, yet studies show that Americans spend less than 5 hours per week in nature.

Takeaway:  The weather is warming up and being outside is beneficial to your mental and physical well-being.  Make a plan to spend some time in natural settings.

Well-being is a journey, not a quick fix

Source Maddock, J.E., Development and Validation of Self-Efficacy and Intention Measures for Spending Time in Nature, 10 BMC Psychology Article 51, Mar 3, 2022, Development and validation of self-efficacy and intention measures for spending time in nature | BMC Psychology.

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