Engagement with nature contributes to overall life satisfaction
Looking to improve your overall life satisfaction? Try regularly hiking in a forest or otherwise engaging with the natural environment.
And then, for good measure, look for ways to build your trust in the scientists and policymakers involved in managing the forest where you like to hike.
New research at Oregon State University empirically demonstrates that a variety of mechanisms for engaging nature significantly contribute to a person's overall well-being.
Chief among those, the study found, was whether people believed their surrounding environments were being managed well -- for the earning of income and the underpinning of cultural practices as well as for the pursuit of recreation.
"Whether people feel like things are fair and they have a voice in process of making decisions and whether governance is transparent -- those are the foundations of why people even can interact with nature," said lead author Kelly Biedenweg of OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Biedenweg, an assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and collaborators from Colorado State University and the University of Georgia analyzed results from more than 4,400 respondents to an online survey conducted in the Puget Sound region of Washington state.