Why Trees Can Make You Happier
Our tree care specialists at Urban Forestry Tree Service love trees and sometimes, we’re even known to hug them on occasion. Whenever we’re near one of these giant plants, we feel a sense of comfort and a feeling as if we’re somehow related to them. Like a distant relative. We also find them to be awe inspiring as many of the trees we encounter are over a hundred years old. They represent a sense of history for us.
Although many people might not feel the same way we do, but perhaps everyone should. While we all know that being in nature (like hiking in the Colorado mountains) leads to better health, being more creative, and just being a better human, there’s also something about trees that can benefit our lives.
Trees are very important to our lives in many ways. Obviously, they produce the oxygen we breath and clean the air to protect our planet, but trees also have other important benefits.
Here are some of the more findings from research on how trees increase human well-being.
Trees help us feel less stressed
The most researched benefit of nature exposure is that it seems to help decrease our stress and can reduce anxiety. Most of this research has been conducted in forests too!
In one study, young adult Japanese participants reported an increase in their moods after walking for 15 minutes in a forest. The participants that walked in a forest experienced less anxiety, aggression, fatigue, brain fog, and depression. They reported that they felt much happier. The results were even stronger for people who were more anxious or depressed to begin with.
Other studies suggest that “forest bathing” (which is spending time in the woods or forests amongst trees) can help us deal with the stresses and strains that we often deal with on a daily basis.
Studies have also shown that just looking at images of forested areas can improve our moods and emotions. People reported that they had significantly better moods, more positive emotions and a getter sense of purpose.
Trees improve our health
Not only does spending short amounts of time in forests improve our mental health, but it also improves our immune systems too. Studies found that elderly patients had improved immune function after they visited forests. Some believe that the reason for this is due to the aromatic compounds that trees release.
Trees can also improve our heart health. People who walked in forests had lowered blood pressure, pulse rates, cortisol levels and sympathetic nervous system activity. Their parasympathetic nervous system that’s related to relaxation was also increased. Due to these lowered markers, which contribute to heart health, it’s suggested that walking in the forest amongst trees improves our cardiovascular system!
Even people who live in the city and don’t have access to a forest can reap the benefits of trees. City dwellers who live near trees are shown to have improved immune systems! There’s something truly magical and healing about trees!
Trees in neighborhoods have less crime
Research suggests that green spaces in urban areas reduces crime.
In some studies it’s been shown that areas within cities have less crime when there is a large percentage of tree canopy coverage and green park space. Crime rates for assaults, drug possession, robbery and battery drop significantly in these areas.
Trees can have such a profound calming effect, it seems (just ask our tree service professionals!). As we learned previously, trees can calm people’s fears, anxiety, and aggressive behaviors which are often related to crime. Trees (especially in parks) draw people out of their homes and can create a sense of community, which is an effective way of making neighborhoods more safe.
Trees may make us better humans
Research also suggests that being in nature and around trees just makes us kinder to other people.
In one research study, it was noted that people who study trees (much like our tree care specialists) felt a feeling of awe and inspiration. They tended to feel that life had more meaning and felt a sense that there was something in the universe that had a greater play in our lives. They also felt a greater sense of connection, not only with nature, but with their fellow humans.
For many of these reasons above, I try to get into nature as often as possible and try to be around trees. That might be taking a walk in a park that is heavily wooded or going hiking in a forested area in the Colorado mountains. I also touch trees and connect with them.
Many of our tree care professionals also like to take care of trees in their yard or plant a tree. That way they can enjoy all of the psychological benefits fo trees right there in their own property.
If you’re interested in doing the same, please reach out to one of our tree service professionals to learn more or visit some of our other links below to learn more about other benefits of trees.