Breakthrough research has revealed that spending just 20 minutes immersed in nature can significantly reduce stress levels.

The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, is the first to examine the duration of time and quality of the natural environment that has the most positive impact on individual well-being.

For three-days-a-week over eight weeks, the study had participants completed a nature experience and provided saliva samples before and after this experience once every two weeks.

Dr Natalie Matosin read the study and said, although there is still research to be unpacked, part of the promising results could stem from the notion that being in nature gives participants the opportunity to take a break from their urbanised lifestyle.

With one in five Australian’s living with a mental disorder, the results provide a starting point for healthcare practitioners to prescribe “nature pills” to patients as a more cost-effective treatment for mental-wellbeing.