We’re constantly on the lookout for material things to make us happy.
But new research proves the answer could be much simpler than splashing out on a new car, clothes or watch.
Going for a hike in the countryside is not only good for your health – it helps to keep a smile on your face, the study suggests.
Scientists across the world have long reported a substantial link between spending time outdoors and an improved mood.
Going for a hike in the countryside is not only good for your health – it helps to keep a smile on your face, scientists claim
And the new Oregon State University study of almost 4,500 people confirms the widely-held belief about nature – finding it improves wellbeing.
All of the participants involved lived in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, the findings noted.
This area includes the cities of Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma and is also home to Mount Rainier National Park.
They wanted to assess the link between overall enjoyment with life and how often they engaged with the surrounding environment.
Thirteen different factors were assessed, including access to wild resources and stress eased by time outdoors.
Researchers claim 11 of these had a positive correlation to improving someone’s mood, NewsMedical reports.
Believing the environment was being managed well by those in charge was found to provide the biggest boost in wellbeing.
This is important because those are the ‘foundations of why people can interact with nature’, lead author Dr Kelly Biedenweg said.
Scientists across the world have long reported a substantial link between spending time outdoors and an improved mood
Those struggling to drop off to sleep at night might want to consider going on a weekend camping trip, research in February suggested.
Scientists discovered that spending a couple of nights under canvas can reset our internal body clocks to help us go to sleep earlier.
While fresh country air often gets the credit, what seems to help is tuning into the natural cycle of light and dark, according to University of Colorado researchers.
Modern lifestyles – with artificial lighting, television, computers and smartphones – have long been known to affect our sleep.
The mental distraction from our gadgets, the light from their screens as well as our electrically lit homes all worsen our sleep quality and quantity.
Writing in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, she added: ‘Controlling for demographics, all were significantly related to life satisfaction.
‘The fact that trust in governance was a significant predictor of life satisfaction – in fact, the most statistically significant predictor of the ones we looked at – it was nice to see that come out of the research.
‘The way we manage is the gateway to people being able to get livelihoods and satisfaction from nature.’
The new findings back up a study last month that found living closer to open fields reduces the risk of being obese or depressed.
After reviewing hundreds of studies, Institute for European environmental policy scientists claimed it can even slash the chance of an early death by 16 per cent.
While another study in March discovered how watching nature documentaries could be a good way to overcome stress.
University of California, Berkeley, researchers found watching small clips of shows such as Planet Earth II boosts people’s emotions of awe, joy and amusement.