An Ancient Way to Heal The Mind Finds New Scientific Support
benefits were particularly strong for those who were stressed.
group walks in nature is associated with better mental well-being and lower
stress and depression, a new large-scale study finds.
study is one of the first to show that simply walking in nature doesn’t just
benefit the body, but also the mind.
Warber, one of the study’s authors, said:
hear people say they feel better after a walk or going outside but there
haven’t been many studies of this large size to support the conclusion that
these behaviors actually improve your mental health and well-being.”
study evaluated a British program called ‘Walking for Health’ and it involved
nearly 2,000 participants (Marselle et al., 2014).
matched groups of people were compared: some who took part in the group nature
walks, and others who did not.
a three-month period, taking part in the group nature walks was associated with
less depression, lower perceived stress and higher mood and mental wellbeing.
who seemed to see the most benefit were those who had been through a recent
stressful life event, such as divorce, bereavement or a serious illness.
is an inexpensive, low risk and accessible form of exercise and it turns out
that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful,
under-utilized stress buster.
findings suggest that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group
may not only improve someone’s daily positive emotions but may also contribute
a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.”
in nature seems to be one of the keys to getting the most mental benefit; urban
environments do not provide the same boost.
modern research is starting to pick up on the importance of the natural
environment for our mental health.
example, the Japanese are big fans of walking in the forest to promote their
practice is called shinrin-yoku, which literally means ‘forest
study conducted by Japanese researchers has found that the practice is
particularly useful for those suffering acute stress (Morita et al., 2006).
study of 498 people found that shinrin-yoku reduced hostility
and depression as well as increasing people’s liveliness compared to comparable