Take a daily five-minute dose of nature

Are you planning drastic, far-reaching new year’s resolutions? Stop! Making tiny (almost stupidly tiny) changes will be more lasting in the long run. Follow Oliver Burkeman’s easy steps…


get outside into green spaces every day

You don’t need two weeks in Costa Rica, or even a Sunday in the country, to feel nature’s happiness-boosting effects. Just five minutes of movement in a green environment, like woodland or a park, makes a measurable differenceto mental health.

We should all ‘self-medicate more with green exercise’, as Essex University researcher Jo Barton puts it. In a US study, workers on one side of a building with windows facing greenery took far fewer sick days than those on the other without. Merely looking at photographs of nature scenes, or even a green rectangle, can help.

So, make sure you go to the park today – or, at very least, change your computer wallpaper to a natural-looking green.

Photograph: Liesel Böckl/Corbis

More inspiration:

Read 5 ways to feel more balanced, every day by Eminé Ali Rushton on LifeLabs

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