Taking the Scenic Route to Work Is Better for Our Mental Health, Study Finds

Mental health and physical inactivity are two of the main public health problems associated with life in urban environments.

Courtesy of  Artur Debat / Getty Images 

When you are commuting to work, you may want to take the long winding road through the trees or that bridge over the ocean, even if these scenic routes are not always the most convenient routes. One new study in Environment International found that people who commute through natural greenery to and from work scored 2.74 points higher, on average, on their mental health scores than people who did not commute through scenic landscapes.

This is why that drive through the trees puts you in a good mood

In the survey of 3,599 workers from four European countries, participants who commuted through natural environments on a daily basis reported stronger mental health than those who did not, suggesting that just the sight of natural greenery has a powerful effect on our mood.

This is good news for those of us who do not have a lush forest in our backyards. If we can make a concerted effort to find the green in our neighborhood, our proximity to this natural environment can boost our overall mood and offset the daily struggles of our work days.

The researchers suggested more investment in urban design around greenery so that more people have access to this natural mood-booster. “Cities should encourage active [natural environment] commuting by providing natural commuting routes suitable for active commuting,” the researchers conclude.

“Mental health and physical inactivity are two of the main public health problems associated with life in urban environments. Urban design could be a powerful tool to confront these challenges and create healthier cities,” Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, one of the authors of the study, said.

Originally published at www.theladders.com

Sign up to receive daily news, inspiration, and advice on how to master work and life from Ladders.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Commute Wearing You Out? Try Looking at This.

by Jane Burnett

Mental Health in the Workplace

by Fay McFarlane

Is Your Workplace Mental-Health Friendly?

by Fay McFarlane

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.