A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment

Adding Trees - A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment

Planet Ark's 2016 research, sponsored by Toyota, examines how time in nature enhances and grows the key areas in life that Australians consider the most important for a fulfilling life – health, happiness, learning, relaxation and relationships.

The report presents the results from studies published in peer-reviewed journals and Planet Ark’s National Survey, finding that nature helps make people happier, healthier, brighter, calmer and closer. The surveys included in the report used internationally-recognised scales to measure the connection to nature and happiness of participants. With people spending more and more time tethered to screens and devices, there’s never been a greater need to add nature to our lives.

The report titled Adding Trees - A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment, found:

  • Just 10 minutes' relaxing outside is enough to significantly reduce blood pressure.

  • Time in nature reduces a person’s chance of developing a range of diseases, including diabetes by 43%, cardiovascular disease and stroke by 37% and depression by 25%.

  • Nature induces positive feelings through a number of physiological mechanisms, including activating the brain’s dopamine reward system.

  • Students who take part in outdoor learning programs perform better in reading, writing, maths and science, with 77% of teachers reporting student improvement in standardised tests.

  • A strong connection to nature makes people more likely to feel passionate about relationships with their friends and family.

About the Video

This year's research coincided with the release of the phenomneally successful Nature RX shortfilm spoofing "get-well adverising" - identifying the same message as Planet Ark: Doctors recommendnature. So Planet Ark got in touch with Justin Bogardus at Nature RX and he agreed to write, direct and edit a similar film for an Australian Audience.

Find out more about the video production in the Blue Mountains.

Previous Research

Adding Trees builds upon previous research commissioned by Planet Ark that highlighted the value and importance of contact with nature for our health, wellbeing and development.

2017 - Learning from Trees

2015 - Needing Trees: The Nature of Happiness

2014 - Valuing Trees: What is Nature Worth?

2013 - Missing Trees: The Inside Story of an Outdoor Nation