The science of happiness: Researchers suggest taking your next coffee break outside

When you see someone smiling or laughing, the tendency is that you would smile or laugh yourself. Happiness is as simple as that. How do you cope with stress? How do you unwind? The next time you take a break away from your daily toil, go outside and smell the flowers.

At the University of British Columbia Okanagan, Ph.D. psychology student Holli-Anne Passmore says that if people take the  time to appreciate nature and all of its beauty, their general happiness increases, and so does their well-being.

An “intervention” research study was conducted for two weeks, where some of the participants were asked to keep a journal on the emotional effects of nature they encountered on a daily basis. Another group of participants were asked to track their emotional reactions to human-made objects, taking a photo of it as well and jotting their notes down. A third group did not participate in the activity. The samples of “nature” mentioned above were anything that is not man-made.

Passmore explains that the study is not about going on long vacations or walking for longer than necessary. She says that the study is about the effects of nature in common places such as a bus stop, or a flower pushing out from the crack on the concrete. The results of the study were overwhelming. The 395 study participants took more than 2,500 photos with their description of emotions, which revealed that not only did they find positive feelings from nature, but overall personal well-being as well. The positivity from these experience led them to share their resources and place a larger value on the community.

Scientific documentation reveals that people who live in suburban or greener places generally seem to be happier. People with simpler-than-city lives find it easier to unwind, and tend to live longer. Passmore’s goal is to take that research further, and apply it to a larger scale.

If you’re still not convinced, take time to actually experience nature in all its glory. In the morning, when you wake up, walk out onto your front lawn, take a deep breath, and exhale all the staleness in your body. Enjoy the sunrise, sit or lie on the grass, and enjoy the simplicity of breathing. In the afternoon, when you’re feeling stressed from work, look for a nearby tree and stay under it. Release all of the negativity to the ground by inhaling deeply, and exhaling completely. At night before you go to bed, check if the night sky is clear enough. If your eyes are clear as well, you’ll surely enjoy the beauty of the twinkling lights.

Happiness is the mental or emotional state of well-being. A cup of coffee in the morning on your porch makes a whole lot of difference than taking it in your dining area. Yes, some of you think that happiness can be bought. But honestly, why spend money on happiness when it comes for free? Being content with the beauty of nature and its super-relaxing properties is one step on the stairs to happiness. By taking control of your ideas on what happiness is about, you can live longer, fuller, and more meaningful lives, by simply appreciating how an eagle flaps its wings and soars, or by watching fish riding the waves at noon.

Sources include:




comments powered by Disqus