Feeling down? Try Vitamin G

Trees next to a lake

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve often preached about the importance of Vitamin D but I’m now becoming just as big of a proponent of Vitamin G … G standing for “green” of course. 

I’ve been reading a book titled Lost Connections: Uncovering the real cause of depression – and the unexpected solutions. Even though I’m only halfway through, I couldn’t recommend it enough. And it’s not just for people struggling with mental health challenges; we can all learn something about our health and wellbeing from this book.

The author, Johann Hari, delves into 9 reasons that have caused depression to rise over the years. One reason that I found particularly fascinating was related to our disconnection from nature. Studies have shown that the more time we spend in nature, the less likely we are to get depressed. Even more powerful was a study that showed that if you were depressed and you moved to an area with lots of green space – and you regularly spent time in that green space – then your depression symptoms would subside.

But the positive effects of green spaces don’t end there.  According to the World Health Organization, having access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities and promote physical activity. Also compelling to note is that low income neighbourhoods that have a lot of green space tend to have less crime. So it’s a worthwhile initiate to get more green spaces to those who need it most. 

I realize that it’s the time year when leaves are changing colours, temperatures are dropping and days are getting shorter. But this is all the more reason for you make a plan to keep up your intake of Vitamin G over the winter. Maybe the grass won’t always been green, but finding yourself amongst trees and natural spaces is still beneficial. You might get chilly, but your mental health will thank you for it. 

So get out there and enjoy the benefits!