Want to be Happy, Visit a Park

Andrew Molera State Park Big Sur

You are walking down the street, minding your own business, maybe listening to music on your iPhone or walking the dog and you spot something…..The person ahead of you has dropped a glove. What do you do? Do you rush over to let them know? Do you call out? Or do you continue to mind your own business and walk on?

Well according to a research study performed by Nicolas Guéguen and Jordy Stefan of University of Bretagne-Sud in France, it depends on whether you just strolled through a park full of trees and plants. They found that 71.9% of people who had just walked through a park would stop to let the dropper of the glove know. However, only 55.6% of people who had not walked through a park would stop to let the dropper know.

This is incredibly interesting to me….it suggests that nature plays a role in the behavior of people. Specifically a role in their mood and attention to other people.  The researchers surveyed each person who witnessed the glove drop, whether they helped or not, to discover what was on their mind. The researchers found that the people who helped reported that they felt in a better mood after walking through the park.

These findings have great implications for cities everywhere. Specifically the need not only for parks, but all kinds of elements of nature. If nature can have such an effect, then maybe the planning profession among others should take notice. If we can implement more greening of cities, then people benefit from not only the beauty, but the mood enhancement. What could be better than a city full of happy people!

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