- Variant spelling of tranquillity
Tranquillity (also spelled tranquility or called equanimity) is the quality of calm experienced in places with mainly natural features and activities, free from disturbance from man-made ones. As such it is a public good and can be seen as an indicator of environmental quality. Although harder to measure than other indicators such as water or air quality, by analysing the various factors that contribute to tranquillity it is possible to produce maps which show the relative tranquillity of different areas.
The Benefits of Tranquillity
Psychological research has highlighted why tranquillity is important. Being in a tranquil place allows people to relax, to escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life and to “recharge their batteries”.
EnjoymentFor many, the chance to experience tranquillity is what makes the countryside different from cities. In a survey by the United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) 58% of people said that tranquillity was the most positive feature of the countryside. Just as great art, design, and traditions allow us to enjoy our identity, so tranquillity allows us to see, hear, and feel the spectacular beauty of the natural world.
Health benefitsAccording to the World Health Organisation (WHO) mental illness such as depression is likely to be the primary cause of ill health by 2020.ref WHOIn addition there is growing concern in many Western countries about obesity.
There is mounting evidence which shows that exposure to nature can contribute to physical and psychological wellbeing. A review of over 100 studies into stress among 16-21 year-olds showed visiting natural environments to experience tranquillity and solitude is an important stress-reliever.ref Lancaster Other studies have found that exposure to nature helps people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.ref Kennedy
Children who visit the countryside regularly are less likely to be obese and to suffer from attention-deficit disorder.ref Bird
Economic benefitsSince seeking tranquillity is an important reason why many of us visit the countryside, the presence of tranquil areas helps boost rural tourism. Since rural tourism in the UK directly supports 380,000 jobs and £13.8 billion annually to the economy, and a recent survey showed that tranquillity is the main reason why 49% of visitors go are attracted to the countryside, one can conclude that tranquillity is worth 186,200 jobs and £6.76 billion a year to the economy.ref rural
Note: Tranquillity is not the absence of all noise, activity and buildings. Research has found that many rural activities, such as farming and hiking, and natural noises such as birdsong and cows lowing, enhance people’s experience of tranquillity.
- Passaddhi - tranquillity as part of the Buddhist spiritual path.
- note WHOWorld Health Report 2001 & 2002
- note LancasterInstitute for Health Research Lancaster University Climbing trees and building dens: Mental health and wellbeing in young adults
- note KennedyKennedy, 1993, cited in Morris, N, Health, Well-being and Open Space, Literature review. Open Space, 2003. And Bennet LW, Cardone S, Jarczyk J, Effects of a therapeutic camping program on addiction recovery. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 15, 1998.
- note BirdBird W, presentation to CABE Health Week conference, May 2006 and Faber Taylor A, Kuo F, Sullivan C, “Coping with ADD: the surprising connection to green play settings” Environment and Behaviour Vol 33 No 1, 54-77, 2001.
- note ruralOriginal figures from The Rural Strategy 2004, DEFRA