Proximity to trees, or even a good view of trees, can help relieve a number of stress-related conditions.
A Medical College of Wisconsin study found that higher levels of green space and exposure to trees lead to fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. According to a study by Chungbuk National University in South Korea, people who had a view of trees from their office report less stress.
Simply living within 100 metres of a tree – of any species – can be enough to reduce the need for antidepressant drugs. This was discovered in a German study that studied the medical prescription data of almost 10,000 residents in the German city of Leipzig and plotted that data against distribution maps of urban greenery.
In one case reported in The Guardian, a resident of a poor area of Baltimore found that her mental health improved so much after a programme of street greening that she was able to stop taking the antidepressants she’d been prescribed for many years.
In Australia, a study found that people living in neighbourhoods with 30% or more covered in tree canopy (the layer of leaves, branches and tree stems that covers the ground when viewed from above) compared to those in neighbourhoods with 0% to 9% tree canopy were almost one-third less likely to experience psychological distress. The heavier tree canopy was also associated with better general health.