Being in contact with nature is the best antidote to solitude in the city, studying

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Coping with loneliness in our crowded and chaotic cities may seem like an impossible task, but nature can help us

Coping with loneliness in our crowded and chaotic cities may seem like an impossible task, but nature can help us





La solitude it is one of the most dangerous evils of our modern society. Also exacerbated by the restrictions due to the pandemic - which have forced many people to work or study from home, in front of a PC, or to forgo visits to relatives and friends - it it would increase the risk of death by 45% according to scientists. In short, a real "disease" that claims more victims than pollution, obesity, alcohol abuse. What to do then to try to stop this social plague?

A team of researchers tried to establish a connection between loneliness and the environment, demonstrating how this can affect our perception of being alone. The research results, collected through a mobile application downloaded by the participants, paradoxically demonstrated that it is overcrowding and confusion that heighten the sense of loneliness (+ 39%).

Conversely, when people were able to make some contact with nature - looking at trees, listening to birdsong - loneliness decreased (up to 21% less). This is why researchers recommend increasing contact with nature even in our cities and in the most urbanized areas: the presence of natural corners within cities could reduce loneliness by increasing the feelings of attachment to a place or offering more opportunities for socialization. .

(Read also: "Happy to chat" benches are born in Poland to fight loneliness, to chat with strangers)

Rather than relying on people's memories of their perceptions and moods, the researchers used the Urban Mind research app to collect data from urban citizens from all over the world, in a sort of 'diary of emotions ”digital: people were invited several times a day (for a period of 15 days) to answer simple questions about loneliness, overcrowding, social inclusion and contact with nature. There were about 750 participants in the study, and they provided about 16.000 assessments of their feeling of welcome within the community, their possibility of having contact with nature and so on. Let's say that the study sample is rather limited and therefore not very representative of large sections of the population.



This study has tried to weaken the strongly negative image that is associated with cities - that is, as places of isolation, of frenzy, harmful to our mental health: if on the one hand all this is true, on the other there are tricks that can make cities more inclusive and "on a human scale" - first of all, that of including nature in the urban landscape to reduce the sense of loneliness of the inhabitants.

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Fonte: Scientific Reports

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