Nature enhances adolescents’ happiness

A research article has been published

A research article written by Eemeli Hakoköngäs and Riikka Puhakka has been published in Leisure Sciences. The article is based on the previous research on health and well-being effects of nature. However, less is known about how people perceive and define the effects of nature in their everyday lives. The study examines conceptions of the relation between nature and happiness offered by 15- to 16-year-olds in the city of Lahti, Finland, which has been reported to be “the happiest country in the world.” The data consist of thematic writings (N = 184). The results show that most of the participants agreed that nature makes them happy or associated only positive characteristics with nature. One fourth of the participants had an ambivalent stance on the topic, while a small minority did not see any connection between happiness and nature. Happiness was connected to opportunities that nature offered for physical activity, and emotional and cognitive renewal. To prevent polarization in relation to nature, special efforts should be made to support outdoor recreation for adolescents.

Leisure Sciences: Happiness from Nature? Adolescents’ Conceptions of the Relation between Happiness and Nature in Finland