Rejuvenating the mind is a walk in the park, literally. It’s that easy to improve mental health—simply step outside and stroll in nature. A new study conducted at Stanford University proves that spending time in nature has a powerful physical effect on the brain. Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University and his colleagues studied the effect of a walk on a person’s tendency to brood, or focusing on anything going wrong in their lives. Researchers recorded brain activity in a group of 38 city dwellers before half walked near a busy street and half walked through a quiet, tree-lined area. The volunteers who walked in the quiet, tree-lined environment showed significant improvements in their mental health according to a questionnaire and follow-up brain scan. After 90 minutes, they were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives and showed a boost in mood. It’s still unclear if the green trees, quiet, natural smells, or a combination of factors lifts the mood, but walking in nature certainly makes a positive impact.
Looking for more mood-boosting techniques for you and your clients? Check out even more benefits of walking in nature, the healing power of the Matesic Method at Cornelia Spa (New York City), and get advice from a certified brain fitness facilitator.