We all know that smoking, drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy foods aren’t good for us. But when the cravings come, they’re hard to resist. Researchers have previously suggested that getting outdoors and exercising in a natural environment may help curb such cravings. But now, a team from the University of Plymouth has found simply being able to see green spaces from your home could be just as effective.
The study claims to be the first to show that passive exposure to green spaces can help lower how often we crave addictive substances, as well as make the cravings weaker. Published in the journal Health & Place, it found that having access to a garden or allotment had a beneficial effect on participants’ cravings, and that having home views made up of more than 25 per cent green space had similar results.
“It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s wellbeing,” says one of the study’s authors Leanne Martin. “But for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research.”
According to Martin, her findings could have a range of implications for public health and environmental protection programmes in the future.
So are people who live in the country – who typically have more green views than the average urban dweller – less tempted to give into cravings than their cousins in the city? Could taking a break in a destination rich in plant life help if you’re battling with giving up smoking, drinking or a junk food addiction?