… living near a forest contributes to happiness? New research says it is indeed so. A long-term study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin) found that forests, in particular, are one of the best remedies for the increased rates of illness, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and chronic stress that occur at much higher rates among city dwellers than their country counterparts.
The Max Planck research team did a comparative study of individuals living near urban green spaces, forests, and open spaces to determine the influence of each type of tree environment on the amygdala, which regulates stress in the brain. The team found significant evidence that city dwellers living near a forest were more likely to have healthy amygdalas and thus better able to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. The study concluded that proximity to a forest is one of the most significant positive factors urban dwellers can do to reduce stress and thereby increase happiness.
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