Mental health is often seen as an issue that solely affects individuals on a personal level. However, research has shown that our environment can play a significant role in influencing our mental health. From air and water pollution to access to green spaces, there are many environmental factors that can affect our emotional wellbeing. Let’s take a look at how environmental factors can influence mental health.
Air Quality and Mental Health
Air quality has been linked to both physical and mental health problems—from asthma and allergies to cognitive decline and depression. Poor air quality has been linked with increases in stress levels, anxiety, and irritability. This is because polluted air contains toxins that can cause inflammation in the body, leading to increased stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline which can trigger mood swings or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.
Water Pollution and Mental Health
Water contamination from pollutants such as lead, arsenic, mercury, pesticides, and industrial waste can also have an effect on mental health. Studies have shown that exposure to contaminated drinking water has been associated with increased stress levels and higher rates of depression. In addition, people who live near polluted bodies of water have reported feeling more anxious than those who don’t—possibly due to the fear of potential long-term health effects.
Access to Green Spaces
On the other hand, studies have found that access to green spaces—like parks or gardens—can be beneficial for mental health. Exposure to nature is thought to reduce stress levels because it helps us disconnect from everyday life and reconnect with ourselves. It can also help boost serotonin levels (the body’s “happy hormone”) which helps promote positive feelings like calmness or contentment.
The environment plays an important role in influencing our mental health—for better or for worse! From air pollution to water contamination, certain environmental factors can increase stress levels or worsen existing mental illnesses. On the flip side though, having access to green spaces has been linked with improved emotional wellbeing due its ability to reduce stress hormones while boosting serotonin production for happier feelings overall! So if you’re looking for ways to look after your mental wellbeing this summer make sure you get outdoors as much as possible!