Thursday, October 13, 2022

Walks and Mental Health

 From PsyPost:

A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry offers evidence that a simple walk through nature can lower activity in stress-related brain regions. The experiment revealed that participants who walked for an hour in a forest showed decreased amygdala activity during a stress task, while those who walked for an hour in the city did not.

Natural environments are known to provide mental health benefits. For example, being around nature can reduce negative emotions and stress. On the flip side, psychologists have long contended a connection between urban living and poor mental health. For example, city dwellers have higher rates of anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and schizophrenia than people living in rural areas.

With increasing urbanization, it is important to consider how natural versus city environments may differentially impact the brain. There is some evidence that city dwellers show greater activation of the amygdala during social stress tasks compared to rural dwellers. In light of such findings, study author Sonja Sudimac and her colleagues conducted an intervention study to investigate how a walk in nature versus the city might impact stress-related brain regions. The researchers hoped to tease apart the negative effects of urban environments and the beneficial effects of nature. (Read more.)

No comments: