Why be­ing Aus­tralian is good for your health

Women's Health Australia - - CONTENTS - By Alice El­lis

It’s of­fi­cial. We’re not called the Lucky Coun­try for noth­ing. Here’s the proof

Beaches, bush, rain­forests, reefs, rivers, moun­tains, lakes, is­lands, deserts… We re­ally do have it all. We’re #blessed with 19 beau­ti­ful World Her­itage Sites and count­less na­tional parks. Then there are those green spa­ces just down the road from your front door – great for get­ting your sweat on, and for help­ing to clean the air we breathe. Even bet­ter? They’re a ma­jor win for our men­tal well­be­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Vic­to­ria Houlden, from the Uni­ver­sity of War­wick, the the­ory of bio­philia sug­gests hu­mans have an in­nate desire to con­nect with na­ture due to the land­scapes we evolved in. Re­sult? We may still ex­pe­ri­ence pos­i­tive emotions in nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments. Re­search backs this up: find­ings in the jour­nal

Psy­cho­log­i­cal Science show that peo­ple liv­ing in greener ur­ban ar­eas dis­played fewer signs of de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, while a sep­a­rate study in En­vi­ron­men­tal Science & Tech­nol­ogy found mov­ing to a green space has long-term pos­i­tive ef­fects on our well­be­ing. Makes sense to us! Blue spa­ces also count. Mov­ing wa­ter cre­ates good-vibe neg­a­tive ions that ef­fec­tively coun­ter­act the pos­i­tive ions cre­ated by all the icky stuff – such as pol­lu­tion, air-con, elec­tron­ics – that make us pissed off and ag­gro. Columbia Uni­ver­sity found that neg­a­tive ion gen­er­a­tors can re­lieve de­pres­sion as ef­fec­tively as an­tide­pres­sants. Crikey!

We’ve also got beaut weather. In 2014, re­searcher Ed Darack used fac­tors such as temp and hu­mid­ity to cre­ate a list of the world’s best weather spots. Aussie lo­ca­tions – Ade­laide and the Man­jimup re­gion of WA – nabbed two of the top 10 places. Queens­lan­ders and New South Welsh­men may well ar­gue their post­codes trump them all!

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