Canadians are using nature as a stress-relieving tool

WINNIPEG — Canadians are using nature as a stress-relieving tool, with nine out of ten agreeing now is the time to invest in protecting, restoring and caring for the country’s natural spaces, a new poll suggests.

The Ipsos poll, conducted for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, revealed 94 per cent of respondents acknowledge that nature plays a role in reducing stress and anxiety and a significant number of those, 86 per cent, said spending more time in nature is important to them during the second wave of the COVI-19.

“What the poll demonstrates is that nature is recognized as being an important aspect of Canadian lives, especially in the context of dealing with the global pandemic,” said Kevin Teneycke, regional vice president for the Manitoba region of the Nature Conservancy Canada.

“Showing that many Canadians have turned to nature to provide them a time-out, help relieving stress and helping them maintain healthy mental health.”

While the poll only offers a snapshot of Canadian attitudes towards nature, the data shows there is a perceived link between good mental health and being outside.

“It’s been demonstrated the simple act of being in nature, the different noises, the different senses help Canadians relax and give them a sense of well-being when they’re away from the crowds, the lights and noise of typical city living,” said Teneycke.

Of note, the trend of using nature to relieve stress is more prevalent among women and young families.

Spending time in nature could be as simple as taking a walk, a skate or a ski. Increased investment in protecting natural areas is something 91 per cent of Canadians and the Nature Conservancy agree with.

“Having an awareness that the population of Canadian constituents place a value in nature, we certainly do hope that it resonates with our elected officials and leaders and that that they agree with Canadians that supporting nature and conserving biodiversity are important,” Teneycke said.

The online poll surveyed 2,000 people, with the results considered accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire adult population of Canada been polled.

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