No, it’s not just in your head—growing up and spending time in green space, particularly in your own backyard, does incredible things for your brain.

Okay, so maybe it is mostly in your head…but that’s a good thing, according to a 30-year study that followed over 900,000 people in Denmark.

The study used satellite cameras to measure the amount of green space and its proximity to participant homes and the subsequent effect it had on subjects’ psychiatric disorders from adolescence to adulthood.

Researchers found that children raised in areas with the lowest levels of residential green space had up to 55% higher risk of developing anything from depression to schizophrenia. Now, it’s also notable that children who had close access—say, by car—to parks or forests or other green spaces did NOT follow the same trend. The kids who ended up with better mental health had greenery they could see or touch in their own yards.

And get this—the association remained even after adjusting for socioeconomic and FAMILY HISTORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS.

That is major.

Essentially what it means is that parents with serious mental health issues (and even those without, of course) could drastically change their children’s lifelong health simply by providing them with a backyard.

thiago-gustavo-QU8muopJI6I-unsplash

It also means that better city planning could play a big factor for societal mental health levels.

Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond had this to say about the mind-blowing study results:

“If we were talking about a new medicine that had this kind of effect, the buzz would be huge. But these results suggest that being able to go for a walk in the park as a kid is just as impactful.”

We’ve made incredible strides in mental health treatments just in the last several years alone. But when science backs the fact that grounding ourselves in our own backyards can not only help heal but PREVENT these rampant mental disorders to begin with?

Well, you’ll find me and my boy by the creek at Grandma’s.

Related