Contact with nature has a beneficial effect on many spheres of life

How playing outside supports children

A 2006 study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) found that sixth-grade students who participated in three extracurricular programs had better conflict-resolution skills.

A 2013 study in China of 60,000 children ages 2 to 17 found that regular exposure to nature or “greenery” around their school reduced the incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A more recent study at the University of Illinois produced similar results.

Other studies have linked a lack of time away from home in children with:

  • increased obesity
  • vitamin D deficiency
  • higher levels of aggression
  • increased degree of depression
  • poor academic performance
  • decreased ability to cope with stress
  • poor concentration of attention
  • lower well-being

Conversely, a meta-review of 143 other studies published in the journal Environmental Research found that people with access to green spaces generally have slower heart rates, lower blood pressure and lower blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Scientists from Anglia Ruskin University noticed that contact with nature has a positive effect on self-esteem. Moreover, according to them, the benefits are even obtained by looking at nature photos.

There are several reasons why contact with nature can have a positive effect on people’s perception of their bodies. It may enable people to distance themselves physically and mentally from situations that exacerbate their negative self-image.

explains the author of the study, Prof. Viren Swami Anglia Ruskin University

As she adds, it is also possible that contact with an environment of great depth and complexity reduces thoughts associated with negative self-perception.

More precisely, the natural environment effortlessly attracts human attention through the so-called ‘soft fascination’. It is often accompanied by a sense of pleasure, for example when one’s eyes are caught by the sight of the setting sun. An environment that does not require a person’s undivided attention can also silence him mentally. This, in turn, can increase self-compassion, respect for the body and appreciation that it is part of a wider ecosystem that needs protection and care. Access to nature can also mean that a person spends more time outdoors and engages in activities that emphasize the functionality of the body rather than its aesthetic qualities.


The results of research conducted by one of the companies under the “HEADUPPERS 2021” campaign show that 86% of parents believe that when they were with their children, they were willing to be outside – much more willingly than their own children. According to 63% of parents, this is not the case with their children’s generation due to the young generation’s addiction to technology.

However, the experience of C-NN, as well as the organizers of scout camps and events or horse riding camps, shows that children love activities and trips to nature and almost magically forget their smartphones. So maybe it’s worth adding to the New Year’s resolutions about trips to the woods or the park on the weekend?

Press release about the influence of nature on self-image with a link to the original work. Press material from the HEAD UPPERS 2021 campaign.

source: Monika Wysocka, Justyna Wojteczek,

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