The concept of „green therapy” or „nature therapy” underscores the therapeutic effects of engaging with the natural environment on both mental and physical health.

A growing body of research highlights how time spent outdoors, amidst greenery and natural landscapes, can significantly contribute to overall well-being. This paper reviews empirical studies to elucidate the mechanisms through which nature exerts its beneficial impacts, discussing the implications for mental health, cognitive functioning, stress reduction, and physical health outcomes.

The human connection with nature has been a subject of interest across various disciplines, with increasing evidence supporting the notion that interaction with natural environments can have profound health benefits. This interdisciplinary review synthesizes current findings on the psychological and physiological effects of green therapy, aiming to provide a comprehensive understanding of its benefits and to advocate for the integration of nature-based interventions in public health and wellness strategies.

Mental Health Benefits

Numerous studies have indeed highlighted the multifaceted benefits of nature on mental health, underscoring not just the observable outcomes but also the underlying processes that facilitate these benefits. Engaging with natural environments has been consistently linked to notable reductions in stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression, offering a tranquil respite from the pressures of modern life. This exposure to nature doesn’t just momentarily uplift mood but fosters a sustained enhancement in emotional well-being, nurturing feelings of happiness, contentment, and gratitude. The psychological uplift experienced during and after spending time in green spaces can be attributed to several key mechanisms. One primary mechanism is the restoration of cognitive functions, facilitated through attentional recovery. Natural settings, with their serene and aesthetically pleasing environments, allow the mind to rest and rejuvenate, alleviating mental fatigue. This effect is crucial in today’s fast-paced world, where cognitive overstimulation is common. Additionally, the calming presence of nature contributes to the lowering of cortisol levels, a critical biomarker for stress, promoting a physiological state of relaxation and well-being. These findings suggest that the therapeutic potential of nature is both profound and essential for mental health maintenance, emphasizing the importance of integrating nature-based interventions in psychological and public health strategies.

Cognitive Improvements

Exposure to natural environments indeed offers significant cognitive benefits, enhancing functions like memory, attention, and creativity. In the midst of the bustling and often overstimulating urban landscapes, natural settings stand out as sanctuaries that facilitate a necessary restorative process for our cognitive systems. This rejuvenation of the brain’s attentional resources allows individuals not only to recover from mental fatigue but also to improve their overall cognitive performance. The Attention Restoration Theory (ART) provides a theoretical framework for understanding these effects, suggesting that natural environments possess unique qualities that restore our diminished cognitive processes. According to ART, engaging with nature enables the mind to shift away from the effortful, directed attention required by urban environments, towards a more effortless form of engagement. This shift is thought to allow for a recovery period, during which the cognitive system can replenish its resources. The natural world, with its rich, engaging stimuli, offers an ideal backdrop for this recovery process, promoting not just a return to baseline cognitive functioning but an enhanced state of mental clarity, creativity, and problem-solving ability.

Physical Health Enhancements

Physical activities undertaken in the embrace of nature extend beyond the mere act of exercise; they immerse individuals in a setting that inherently promotes health. This interaction with natural environments has a synergistic effect, where the physical benefits are amplified by the calming and restorative properties of nature. For example, exposure to sunlight during outdoor activities increases Vitamin D levels, crucial for bone health and immune function. Additionally, natural terrains offer a varied physical challenge, enhancing proprioception and agility, further contributing to the holistic improvement of physical health. Importantly, the accessibility of green spaces encourages regular physical activity among all age groups, serving as a vital component in the public health strategy to combat sedentary lifestyles and their associated health risks. This dual impact of nature—both as a catalyst for physical activity and as an enhancer of its benefits—highlights the indispensable role of natural environments in sustaining physical health and well-being.

Strategies for Enhancing Connection with Nature

Promoting access to green spaces and integrating nature-based activities into daily life are critical strategies for leveraging the health benefits of nature therapy. Urban planning and public health policies must emphasize the creation and maintenance of parks, gardens, and natural reserves to ensure communities have ample opportunities for engagement with the natural world. Encouraging activities such as regular walks, gardening, and outdoor exercises can foster a deeper connection with nature, enhancing both physical and mental well-being. By prioritizing green spaces and outdoor activities, we can cultivate healthier, more vibrant communities that recognize the indispensable role of nature in sustaining human health and happiness.


Green therapy presents a promising, accessible, and cost-effective approach to enhancing mental and physical health. The evidence reviewed underscores the importance of integrating natural environments into our daily lives and health care practices. As society faces increasing mental health challenges and lifestyle-related diseases, embracing the healing power of nature could be a key strategy in promoting holistic well-being and preventing illness. Further research is needed to explore the most effective methods for implementing nature-based interventions and to understand the long-term impacts of green therapy on health and wellness.


The authors wish to acknowledge the researchers and practitioners whose work has contributed to our understanding of the therapeutic benefits of nature, as well as the individuals and communities who have embraced green therapy practices in their pursuit of health and wellness.