City slickers! Getting out for a walk can positively impact mental health

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of living in a major city can get us down. 

Luckily, if you're a Dublin resident, there are plenty of natural areas and parks to enjoy a stroll in – which a new paper has found greatly improves mental health. 

Urban Mind: Using Smartphone Technologies to Investigate the impact of Nature on Mental Wellbeing in Real Time found that people derive a subconscious mood boost from taking in nature. 

The researchers actually found that getting outside can have mood lifting benefits for hours after.

'The results showed significant immediate and time lagged associations with mental wellbeing for several natural features: trees, the sky and birdsong.'

'These associations were still evident several hours after exposure to trees, the sky and birdsong had taken place, indicating time-lasting benefits.'

So, getting out and about to your nearest park or walking trail could leave you reaping the benefits hours after you've hung up your coat on your return. 

'These findings suggest that short-term exposure to nature has a measurable beneficial impact on mental wellbeing,' said Dr Andrea Mechelli, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London. 

'It suggests that nature could be especially beneficial to those individuals who are at risk of poor mental health.'

So, seeing as it's International Day of Happiness, maybe taking a friend for a walk could be a good way to spread good vibes.