Finding ecohappiness can decrease boys’ anxiety levels and increase family harmony.
There’s a strong — and direct — link between time in nature and mental health. Human beings require nature exposure for optimal physical and mental health. Of course, that’s easier to say than to achieve in modern life, when many of us live in urban environments and use screens to work, learn, and socialize.
But there are fun ways to integrate nature exposure with daily life, says Sandi Schwartz, founder of the Ecohappiness Project and author of Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer.
“A huge study came out a couple years ago that said, all you really need is 120 minutes a week connecting to nature. So that’s about 20 minutes a day,” Sandi says. “You an build a nature habit by looking at your family’s routine and tweaking it. Can you walk somewhere for an errand? Eat outside? Do homework or an art project outside?”
Such slight changes can make a big difference in boys’ (and parents’!) moods and functioning. Research also shows that nature stimulates human creativity, productivity, and curiosity.
In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Sandi discuss:
- Definition of ecohappiness
- Link between nature & mental health
- How to sneak in nature time — and bring nature into your home
- Helping kids (and parents) feel comfortable in nature
- Adding in free play
- Making time to experience ecohappiness
- Teens and nature
- Citizen science
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
EcohappinessProject.com — Sandi’s website (includes quiz & link to FREE 30-day Echohappiness Challenge Calendar)
Picky Eaters, Family Meals, and Nutrition — ON BOYS episode (mentioned at 29:22)
Richard Louv on Animals, Nature, & Boys — ON BOYS episode
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