Time in the garden is one of nature's best mental health fixes, say UK adults

Being in the garden is one of UK adults’ favourite ways to use nature to support their mental health, according to new research by the Mental Health Foundation.

More than half (57 per cent) the 4,274 UK adults surveyed for Mental Health Awareness Week agreed that ‘spending time in my garden’ supports their mental health.
The survey was done to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16th May), which this year has the theme of Nature. 
 
When asked ‘which, if any, of the following activities have a positive impact on your mental health?’ and given a list of nature-related pursuits, ‘spending time in my garden’ was one of the most commonly selected. 
 
Just as popular was ‘seeing nature as I go about my daily life’ (also 57 per cent). 
 
The only two activities that scored higher were ‘spending time by water (eg coast/rivers/lakes/ponds)’, chosen by 65 per cent of people, and ‘spending time in the countryside’ (62 per cent). 
 
The research also found that seven in ten UK adults (70 per cent) said being close to nature improves their mood. Almost as many (65 per cent) said that being close to nature made them feel positive emotions such as joy, calm and wonder.
 
“We chose Nature as our theme this year because of the powerful and growing evidence that paying attention to the natural world is good for our mental health,” said Dr David Crepaz-Keay, Head of Applied Learning at the Mental Health Foundation.
 
“For people with gardens, being out there is a relatively easy way to immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds, smells and textures of plant and animal life. It’s really consciously, actively noticing the qualities of nature that seems to do us good,” he added. 
 
“Regularly tuning in to the natural world won’t solve life’s problems - but it may help you feel calmer and better able to deal with them.”
 
The Mental Health Foundation has produced top tips for getting involved in nature, as well as a report about research into nature and mental health and a policy briefing on nature and mental health.
 
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 4,274 UK adults. Fieldwork was done between 6th - 8th April 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
 
Notes to editors:
For further information and for interview requests please contact [email protected] or Fran Edwards in the Foundation press office on 07702 873 939.  
We can provide a range of Foundation spokespeople for interview and also case studies who can talk about how nature has benefitted their mental health.