All the more reason to come visit us now that spring has arrived (kind of)!
This story should be titled ‘Feeling Fatigued?’ because a walk in the woods — or just looking out the window at nature — can recharge us.
Feeling Anxious? Take A Walk in the Park - Nicole Capo
A new study out of Scotland proves that our minds actually calm down when we’re surrounded by nature instead of the bustling chaos of the city, allowing us to reach a more meditative state. The study used mobile electroencephalograms (or EEGs, for short) to measure the brainwaves of participants as they took a walk through a quiet — but still urban — historic district, a park, and a noisy city center in Edinburgh. What the researchers found was that wave patterns related to frustration and “directed attention” occurred during the city walks, and that the brains of the volunteers became mentally quieter during the walk through the park.
Professor Jenny Roe, who oversaw the study, explained that natural environments still engage our brains, but the attention is involuntary and effortless, meaning we can enjoy the environment around us but still contemplate other things. The beneficial effects of natural environments can even be enjoyed just by looking out your window at a nice, green landscape, and people who live near green areas tend to have lower levels of cortisol — a stress-related hormone — in their saliva. Likewise, children with attention deficit disorders have an easier time focusing on their work if they take a break to stroll through the park.
And we are all of us a bit stressed after a few hours of city life, or just swimming in the stream on line.