Recent study shows what you already know
Stop thinking so much and go for a walk. A recent study shows that a 90-minute stroll on one of King County Parks’ Regional Trails (or other natural location) makes your mind melon leak out less of the sads. Well, not exactly, but that’s the gist of it.
“… a 90-minute walk in a natural setting, decreases both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the subgenual prefontal cortex (sgPFC), whereas a 90-minute walk in an urban setting has no such effects on self-reported rumination or neural activity.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2015
In other words, a walk in the woods keeps you from brooding about your job, your home life, your friends, the weather, or anything else that’s giving you a case of the doldrums. A walk in the city, well … doesn’t.
Time to take these kids out into the woods
Also, a national study on the effects of nature on children with ADHD showed that after-school or weekend activities performed in green or natural settings appear to have greater reduction in ADHD symptoms.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders in childhood. Affecting upwards of 2 million school-aged children, ADHD can have significant impairment on performance in school and relationships with peers and parents.
While a variety of treatments are available, this study had kids diagnosed with ADHD perform regular extracurricular activities in a natural outdoor setting, while a control group performed activities in both built outdoor and indoor facilities.
Which group fared better? You guessed it, nature wins again.
Want to be more creative?
Trying to finish writing that screenplay? Have a project that needs a little watering from a serious brainstorm? Then, put down your smart phone, and your tablet, and your laptop, and your e-reader, and yes, your Gameboy too, and go for an extended trip into the woods.
Another study shows that four days of camping without distracting electronic devices can increase the performance of creative tasks by a full 50%! The subtler smells, sights, and sounds that surround you in nature allow the mind time to relax and renew.
Just goes to show that our mental health and that of our children is correlated to our access to the natural environment and outdoor recreation opportunities. One of the many reasons King County Parks has focused our efforts on expanding access and providing more recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities to enjoy!