Paris, December 22, 2022 – A Spanish study provides further evidence that regular contact with nature is beneficial to mental health. And, according to the same research, the chances of being happy could be even greater if you live in a place that meets the criteria of the “3-30-300 rule”.
The study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, which involved interviews with more than 3,000 people in Barcelona, found that residents closest to green spaces were also those whose mental health was the least impacted.
To reach this conclusion, the authors of the study used the 3-30-300 rule. Theorized by Spanish forest researcher Cecil Konijnendijk last year, it is based on the following principle:
– see three trees from your home;
– live in a neighborhood with at least 30% tree canopy cover; and
– live within 300m of a green space, such as a park or a forest.
Of those surveyed, only 4.7% had the privilege of living in a place that met all three criteria. And it is this share of individuals who had the best mental health.
Conversely, 22% of those surveyed lived in locations that didn’t meet any of the criteria.
“There is an urgent need to provide citizens with more green space,” explains study lead author Mark Nieuwenhuijsen. “We may need to tear out asphalt and plant more trees, which would not only improve health but also reduce heat-island effects and contribute to carbon capture.
“Any initiative that leads to a greener city will be a step forward, the key message being that we need more and faster greening.”
Whether for easing loneliness, promoting conviviality or relieving stress, research highlighting the benefits of regular contact with nature on physical and mental health is legion.
As such, if you live in the city and your home is not located in an area that complies with the 3-30-300 rule, it would be beneficial to take regular walks in the nearest park, or even head farther away and indulge in a “forest bath” – the wellness practice of immersing oneself in a forest setting. – AFP