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13.01.2021


Do you suffer from corona blues? Go outdoors...

The corona lockdowns make people lonely and unhappy, but there is an antidote. According to Austrian psychologists, you can deal with the isolation and stress of sitting at home just by going outdoors. And what also helps is reducing the time you spend behind a screen.

Study
During the first corona lockdown in April 2020, researchers from Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences followed 286 Austrians for 21 days. Three times a day, the researchers asked the study participants whether they were indoors or outdoors at the time, and how lonely and happy they felt.


Do you suffer from corona blues? Go outdoors...



At the end of each day, the researchers asked the study participants how many hours they spent in front of a screen.

Results
There was, just as you would expect, an association between loneliness and happiness. The more lonely the study participants felt, the more unhappy they were.

One factor that contributed to being happy of unhappy was being outdoors. When the study participants were outside, they felt happier. They also felt a little less lonely.


Do you suffer from corona blues? Go outdoors...


Do you suffer from corona blues? Go outdoors...



The association between happiness and the outdoors was a bit more complex than that. When the participants were outside, the link between loneliness and feeling unhappy became less strong. This is shown in the figure above. By the way, it is reduced. Click on it for a larger version.

Finally, the researchers also looked at screen time. The more time the study participants spent in front of a screen, the more lonely and unhappy they felt.

Conclusion
"Our results are important in this context because they show that being able to spend time outdoors under conditions of lockdown has a beneficial impact on psychological wellbeing", says research leader Viren Swami in a press release. [sciencedaily.com January 8, 2021.]

"Being outdoors provides opportunities to escape from the stresses of being confined at home, maintain social relationships with others, and engage in physical activity, all of which can improve mental health."

Source:
J Happiness Stud. 2021 Jan 2;1-18.

More:
Natural environment lowers cortisol levels 09.04.2019
Do you want to live longer? Leave your house every day 30.11.2017
Walking in green areas healthier than walking in the city 20.06.2012

Archives:
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