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Mental well-being and nature, the Internet and African hairdressers

According to scientists led by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), there is no apparent connection between the use of the Internet and smartphones and their negative impact on a person’s mental well-being. Researchers analysed data from the last 20 years on 2 million people aged 15 to 89 from 168 countries. According to prof. Andrew Przybylski of the OII, ” the widespread view that the Internet and mobile phones have an overall negative impact on well-being and mental health is probably inaccurate.”However, the study did not consider the use of social media and the time spent online by young people.

Being in a natural environment activates the parasympathetic nervous system – the nervous system branch associated with the “rest” state. It is associated with reducing stress, improving mood and reducing anxiety and rumination. More and more evidence shows that contact with nature also benefits cognitive functions, i.e., all processes related to acquiring knowledge and understanding, such as perception, memory, reasoning, judgement, imagination and problem-solving. Being in nature strengthens the brain – according to one study, a four-day hike (without access to a phone or other technology) increased the creativity of the experiment participants by 50%.

In cities in West and Central Africa, approximately 150 hairdressers received training in mental health counselling. It is an attempt to provide care to their clients who are in a mental crisis in one of the poorest regions of the world, where access to help is limited and acceptance of mental problems is low. The organiser of the training is the Bluemind Foundation.

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