City Parks Lift Mood as Much as Christmas, Twitter Study Shows


The greener the greenspace, the happier and less self-absorbed people are, Vermont team reports.

Feeling unhappy and cranky? The treatment: take a walk under some trees in the park. That may not be the exact prescription of your doctor, but a first-of-its-kind study shows that visitors to urban parks use happier words and express less negativity on Twitter than they did before their visit—and that their elevated mood lasts, like a glow, for up to four hours afterwards.

The effect is so strong—a team of scientists from the University of Vermont discovered—that the increase in happiness from a visit to an outpost of urban nature is equivalent to the mood spike on Christmas, by far the happiest day each year on Twitter.

With more people living in cities, and growing rates of mood disorders, this research may have powerful implications for public health and urban planning. The new study was published August 20 in People and Nature, an open-access journal of the British Ecological Society.

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Image via Jamie McInall, University of Vermont