Stress is something most of us are familiar with these days. But spending time in nature can make us feel less stressed, both physically and mentally, say researchers.
It’s not the first time natural settings have been linked with stress reduction. This time, however, Cornell scientists found you only have to spend 10 minutes in nature to feel happier and calmer.
The study was carried out in young people who were of college age (15 – 30). Published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, it aimed to find out how long college students should be spending outside to reap any health benefits. And the amount of time they came up with was 10 – 50 minutes, which they found was enough to improve mood, focus and reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
Not only that, but all you have to do while you’re in nature is sit or walk, say the researchers.“It doesn’t take much time for the positive benefits to kick in — we’re talking 10 minutes outside in a space with nature,” says Gen Meredith, one of the study’s authors.“We firmly believe that every student, no matter what subject or how high their workload, has that much discretionary time each day, or at least a few times per week.”The researchers believe spending time in nature could be prescribed by health professionals to prevent or improve stress and anxiety.
Can’t get outside? Try to get as much natural light as you can by sitting near a window, and look for inspiring natural scenes on TV (a natural world programme, for instance) or on the internet to help you feel more relaxed.