Here’s how you might feel if you’ve been holed up in your home (or in the big city) for too long, and how getting back to nature could soothe what ails you.
Depressed: If you’re feeling blue, try trading the cramped, gray city for some green, natural spaces. A stroll in the woods has been shown to help combat depression, and even just the view of the forest from a hospital room helps patients who are feeling down. Head for the hills if you need a boost to your mood.
Stressed: The buzzing of people, cars zipping down the street and bright billboards flashing advertisements are all part of the urban environment. The constant stimulation puts stress on brains that evolved in more tranquil environments. Nature presents scenes that gently capture your attention instead of suddenly snatching it, calming your nerves instead of frazzling them.
Anxious: You probably know that exercise is good for your state of mind. But did you know that working out in nature helps to reduce anxiety,4 among other benefits, even more than going to an indoor gym? Consider skipping the exercise bike and hit some trails to get the best mental bang for your buck.
Self-Involved: If you dwell on your problems and just can’t stop, a walk through a meadow might put the brakes on the thought train circling through your head. Research shows that a 90-minute walk in nature lowers activity in the part of the brain linked to negative rumination. The same walk in an urban setting doesn’t have the same effect
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