Take a daily five-minute dose of nature

Are you planning drastic, far-reaching new year’s resolutions? Stop! Making tiny (almost stupidly tiny) changes will be more lasting in the long run. Follow Oliver Burkeman’s easy steps…


Take a daily five-minute dose of nature

You don’t need two weeks in Costa Rica, or even a Sunday in the country, to feel nature’s happiness-boosting effects. Just five minutes of movement in a green environment, like woodland or a park, makes a measurable difference
to mental health.

We should all ‘self-medicate more with green exercise’, as Essex University researcher Jo Barton puts it. In a US study, workers on one side of a building with windows facing greenery took far fewer sick days than those on the other without. Merely looking at photographs of nature scenes, or even a green rectangle, can help.

So, make sure you go to the park today – or, at very least, change your computer wallpaper to a natural-looking green.

Photograph: Liesel Böckl/Corbis

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