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  • Writer's pictureJosh Robson

The Mental Health Benefits of Living in The Country

Being part of the hustle and bustle of a big city may be what you’re looking for when you’re younger, but as you get older, the idea of a quieter, country lifestyle becomes more and more desirable.

Away from the stresses of city life, living in the country has countless benefits, from improved mental health to cleaner air and more personal space

The mental health benefits of living in the country walk

1. Lower Levels of Stress

It’s no secret that having access to green space can see an incredibly positive effect on mental health and stress levels. It's even been suggested that being around nature can possibly lower risk of psychiatric disorders.

Living in the country offers you access to open green space, country walks with panoramic views and an abundance of fresh air. Getting out into the countryside helps you to forget about the stresses of working life and can boost mental morale, providing you with a clearer mindset.

The mental health benefits of living in the country

2. Cleaner Air Quality

Air quality has become a more serious concern in recent years, with suburban communities starting to experience higher levels of contamination. Research from the World Bank shows that air pollution is now a major health hazard.

Experts from the British Heart Foundation argue that “being in the country is better for you” when it comes to air pollution, as the cleaner air reduces the risk of lung damage and heart disease caused by excessive traffic.

A forest in the countryside

3. Provides More Personal Space

Many living in a big city do not have the luxury of garden space and when they visit their local park it’s often crowded. In a city, it often feels overwhelmed with people and you have much less space to yourself.

One of the main benefits of living in the country is the abundance of space, particularly to yourself. Most properties come with ample garden space - ideal for warm summer months - and the countryside offers stunning secluded walks, perfect for all year around.

The mental health benefits of living in the country

4. Access Local and Organic Food

Living closer to working farms allows you to have first pick when it comes to local produce and organic food products. Many countryside towns offer regular farmers’ markets where you can buy tasty local vegetables and natural organic ingredients grown on your doorstep.

Buying locally is not only beneficial for your health due to the nutritional benefits and absence of foreign pesticides, but it’s also an excellent boost for the local economy and the environment too.

Organic vegetables in the countryside farmers market

5. Connect with Nature

Researchers have found that there is a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety and depression. Getting outdoors and connecting with wildlife can even lower blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which calms the body’s fight-or-flight response.

The visual aspect of being close to nature can also have a positive effect. Trees and greenery can distract your mind from negative thinking, so your thoughts become less filled with worry.

Highland cows in the country side

6. Improve Sleep Quality & Cardiovascular Health

Living in a city may also affect your cardiovascular health. A 2017 study suggests long term exposure to air pollution and city noise may cause damage to a person’s cardiovascular health. Traffic noise which may interfere with sleep quality can cause a spike in the stress hormone cortisol. Over time, too much cortisol can increase risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a survey of more than 15,000 individuals conducted by Stanford University found that the bright lights of a city can dampen a person’s ability to get a good night’s rest, causing insomnia and sleep difficulties.

As such, moving to the country may be the best thing you ever do for your sleep. The first few nights may feel quiet, but soon you’ll be sleeping soundly wrapped in an unavoidable cloak of silence, wondering how you ever managed to drift off with the traffic and trains as your lullaby. Sleeping better is proven to improve your mental and physical well being.

The sleep and mental health benefits of living in the country

7. Spark Creativity

Perhaps currently you feel you don’t have time to get creative, your lifestyle simply doesn’t permit it and you don’t have the inspiration? Be it art, music, pottery or poetry, the inspiration found in nature alongside like-minded people shouldn’t be underestimated.

When you add time, willingness and the natural landscape of the countryside, the creative juices that were otherwise stuck in writers’ block, often start flowing. Why not look at some of the incredible paintings David Hockney created of the Yorkshire Wolds, finding inspiration in its stunning landscapes.

David Hockney Yorkshire countryside inspiration

If you are considering a move to the country, why not check out the beautiful barn conversions available at Woodhouse Lund.

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