An Easy Way to Feel $10,000, Even $20,000 Richer

how to feel rich
David Schiersner under Creative Commons

Next time you’re moving, you might want to take a minute to count the trees on your potential new block.

Sound like a strange thing to do? Not according to recent research, reports Fast Company.

Stately oaks, leafy maples and swaying aspens not only provide a scenic backdrop to your life, but also offer distinct advantages over living in a concrete jungle, including significant health gains and wellness benefits equal to earning thousands more per year, according to a study recently published in Nature.

Researchers found living on a block with 10 more trees than the average number “improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000.” Adding just one more tree — so 11 more than average — was comparable to being $20,000 richer!

How Did They Figure It Out?

To analyze the benefits from living near trees, researchers scoured high-resolution satellite images and tree data in Toronto, Canada.

Why Toronto? Researchers believed Canada’s universal healthcare system would reduce the number of variables associated with access to healthcare.

Using data from the Ontario Health Study, the researchers compared residents’ self-reported “general health perception, cardio-metabolic conditions and mental illnesses” to find their results. They also controlled for other variables, including demographics and socioeconomic factors.

How else are trees good neighbors?

It’s well-known that trees have a number of health benefits, especially in an urban environment.

“One could guess that reduction of pollution, relieving stress, restoration of directed attention, and promoting more physical exercise could be among the possible ways trees benefit health, based on other research,” Omar Kardan, the study’s lead author, told Fast Company.

And if that’s not enough reason to plant a few trees, the shade trees provide can create huge energy savings. Having a few trees can help you save on cooling costs in the summer and help you enjoy your outdoor environment even more.

Want to learn more? Read the full story on Fast Company.

Your Turn: How many trees do you have on your block?

Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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