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Scientists Discover That Nature Walks Are Great for Your Mental Health

Something as simple as taking a walk through the trees may lower depression.

Image via Wikimedia

Living in the city can be stressful. Living in the country: also stressful. Fact: life is stressful. So a group of scientists, in an endless quest to determine what can lower our stress, recently did a study and came up with a beautifully logical result: sometimes, simply taking a walk through nature can lower our stress. The more green spaces we see, the better we feel.

For the study, Stanford University researchers had 38 men and women complete surveys examining how often they ruminate, or worry, about issues continuously. Rumination, the scientists claim, can lead to anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal. So the researchers had the group ruminate for a while, and then asked them to go on a 90-minute walk. One group took a walk in the country, the others took a walk in the city. The result: the group who took a nature walk experienced significantly less rumination, which later showed up in a brain scan.

Image via Wikimedia

More and more people are living in urban areas, reports The Medical Daily, and nearly 350 million people across the world struggle with depression. By 2050, nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, where the demand for green space has never been as strong. As Greg Bratman, one of the leading scientists on the study told The Huffington Post: "It's important to incorporate these 'psychological ecosystem services' into urban design, to help bring nature to the city, and to improve easy access to these landscapes and nature experience.”

Between miserable commutes and tragic air conditioning units, city living can be enormously taxing. Sometimes therapy helps, and other times the best remedy is just going outside, and taking a good walk.

(Via: The Medical Daily)

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