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Forests and Other Natural Green Settings Provide Many Health Benefits

If you are like many nature lovers, it may be because being outdoors in nature helps you feel calmer, happier, and less stressed. Apparently, there is plenty of scientific research to show that nature does have a healing effect on people.

Naturally green environments such as forests impact us positively in a variety of ways. They help boost our mood, calm angry and aggressive feelings, and alleviate stress. They also make us feel happier in general. For those of you who love to camp, hike or backpack, you have more reasons to go now than ever!

The benefits aren’t just psychological, however. Spending time in nature can also help boost the crucial cells in the body that fight cancer – both in terms of quantity and their activity in the body.

If you’ve been in a highly stressful situation you can de-stress more quickly if you get out in nature for awhile. Stress elevates certain hormones, such as cortisol, and kicks certain body functions such as blood pressure into high gear. Green surroundings will help normalize those more readily.

Considering how destructive chronic stress can be both emotionally and physically, it is important that metropolitan areas strive to preserve trees and green space. In fact, Dr. Eeva Karjalainen will be speaking in Seoul this year at the 2010 IUFRO World Forestry Congress about the many health benefits of forests and green settings. Dr Karjalainen is on staff at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).

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