Can a Walk in a Park Increase Happiness?
Parks are beautiful and tranquil places. Consequently, a walk in a park might
foster greater happiness.
In their second study, Hartig, Mang, and Evans (1991) had participants either
take a walk in a park, a walk in an urban setting, or read magazines for forty
minutes in a laboratory setting (relaxation condition). All the participants
completed tasks for 40 minutes that were intended to produce cognitive fatigue.
These tasks occured prior to taking the walk or the relaxation condition. They
found that overall happiness was somewhat higher for people who took a walk in
the park than for people who took a walk in the urban setting or participated in
the relaxation condition. They reported that the natural environment group
differed significantly from the other two group with respect to overall happiness.
These findings may have some important implications. A walk in a park may
foster greater happiness than a walk in an urban setting or just relaxing (e.g.,
reading a magazine).
1. See their article for more information about the study and other findings.
Hartig, T., Mang, M., & Evans, G. W. (1991). Restorative effects of natural
environment experiences. Environment and Behavior, 23, 3-26.