Want to Beat the Blues? A Walk in Nature Can Make Us Happier
have always known that getting outside in nature is the best medicine to beat a case of the blues.
Turns out I’m not alone in this. In fact, writers from Henry David Thoreau to John Muir (and many more) have been talking about their profound experiences in nature for the last several hundred years.
Now, scientists are discovering that nature can have a profound impact on our brains and our behavior.
Not only does being active in nature decrease stress and anxiety, it can also help bolster our mood and make us happier.
The Science Behind Nature’s Uplifting Effects
In one study conducted in Finland, researchers found that urban dwellers who strolled for as little as 20 minutes through an urban park reported significantly less stress than those who went walking in the city center.
Recently, another study from Stanford found evidence that walking in nature decreases rumination (those anxious or sad thoughts that you keep repeating in your head), which has been linked with the onset of anxiety and depression. In the study, those who walked in a natural setting versus an urban one reported decreased rumination and less activity in the area of the brain associated with depression and anxiety.
These findings provide all of us with a simple tool we can use to develop a more positive state of mind.
So the next time you get a case of the blues, put on your walking shoes and find a nearby park or forest to take a stroll. Your body will benefit from exercising outside—and your mind will, too.
See you outside!