Living Closer to Trees Relieves Stress, Lowers Antidepressants Usage

Reconnect with nature, it’s good for the body and mind.

According to a new study, living closer to a tree – of any species – relieves a number of stress-related conditions and was associated with lower use of antidepressants.

Marselle, a psychology lecturer at De Montfort University (DMU) in the British city of Leicester, 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.

One of the investigations found that test subjects who had spent more time in leafy surroundings showed lower levels of a biochemical stress indicator called serum cortisol. Another concluded that it even improved levels of concentration in children with attention deficit disorder.

Researchers at the US Forest Service chose 25 of the most populated urban areas (only one city per country) to analyze how their tree coverage compared. It put New York in first place (with 39.2% of tree cover), followed by Moscow (29.1%), São Paulo (27.4%), and Paris (26.4%). Perhaps New York’s success is down to resident involvement:in 2015 it successfully completed a citizen-led drive to plant one million trees.


Its findings back up studies that indicate time spent among foliage and in nature can help relieve a number of stress-related conditions.

The new study also says planting trees in urban areas can help reduce stress and anxiety for the people living there –specially among the lower-income group.

The experiment in Germany suggests that simply living within 100 meters of a tree can be enough to reduce the need for antidepressant drugs.