If you are looking for ways to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, try taking a walk in the woods (preferably with your cell phone shut off). As interest in the growing scientific field of “ecotherapy” increases, there is mounting evidence emerging of a strong connection between time spent in nature and elevation in mood. According to one study in which researchers compared the brain activity of healthy individuals before and after they spent 90 minutes walking either in a natural setting or an urban one, those taking nature walks displayed lower activity in their “prefrontal cortex,” which is the area of the brain that is active during rumination (dwelling on repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions).
While direct contact with nature has many benefits, individuals need not spend time in a green environment to experience the positive effects of nature. Several studies have found that a mere glimpse of nature from a window or even photographs of nature can improve people’s overall mood, mental health, and life satisfaction. Whether you may face life’s daily stress or a chronic mental illness, we are here for you. We welcome people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Call one of our offices today or take our free on-line assessment located on this website.
P.S. It has also been found that listening to calming sounds in nature (birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind, complete silence, etc.) can lower blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone “cortisol” (which has a calming effect on the fight-or-flight response).