Wildlife changes your perception of beauty and makes you happy

A new study shows that beauty and nature are linked to mental health.

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Spending time outdoors and tuning-in to the beauty of nature can increase people’s happiness © Penny Dixie

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Research by the University of Derby has revealed that people’s perception of beauty in the natural world is key to unlocking benefits of wellbeing and happiness.

The study evaluated participants in the 30 Days Wild challenge, organised by The Wildlife Trusts.

“Over the past three years we’ve repeatedly found that taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health, happiness, nature connection and conservation behaviours,” says Dr Miles Richardson, director of pyschology at the University of Derby.

“Tuning-in to the everyday beauty of nature becomes part of a journey which connects us more deeply to the natural world. As people’s appreciation of natural beauty increases, so does their happiness. We respond to beauty – it restores us and balances our emotions.”

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Connecting with nature can improve mental health © Matthew Roberts 

The 30 Days Wild challenge encourages people to do something wild every day for the month of June.

The 2017 challenge had 250,000 participants, who undertook a wide variety of outdoor activities, including nature walks and bushcraft.

“30 Days Wild is a lovely way to get closer to nature and marvel at the everyday wildlife that lives all around you,” says Lucy McRobert, Campaigns Manager for The Wildlife Trusts.

The 2018 theme for 30 Days Wild is helping wildlife in your neighbourhood, such as creating hedgehog highways or sowing wildflowers. 

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The theme for 30 Days Wild 2018 is helping wildlife in your neighbourhood © Nick Upton

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Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine