Urbanization is the Problem
According to a recent Stamford University study, 50% of Americans now live in an “urbanized” area without access to much nature. The researchers state that urbanization has been associated with high levels of mental illness, but the reasons are not yet known why.
This is a concern because urbanization is on the rise. The number is expected to reach 70% by 2050! Will the effects of urbanization compound more greatly as more people begin to live on top of each other? The potential for future damage to our society is not yet understood and efforts must be made to combat the growing mental health epidemic.
“Rumination is a pattern of thought focused on the negative of oneself”
Nature is the Solution
The researchers decided to test the effects of a 90 minute walk in nature verse a 90 minute walk through an urban area. They wanted to know if it would have an effect on repetitive negative thoughts (“Rumination”).
Their brains were scanned before and after the walks. The results showed that the participants walking in nature had positive results where the participants walking in urban areas did not.
“We wanted to see how we regulate our emotions. The people in the experiment shifted the way in which they engage with nature. They shifted their attention away from those thoughts.”
Their researched mirrored the results of other studies that indicate as little as 90 minutes walking in nature can lower your stress level biochemically and leave you simply feeling better.
So what should you do if you are stressed, depressed, or repeatedly thinking about all the ways life has brought you down? Turn off the TV, open the door, and go for a walk. A nice long one. No cell phones, no emails, just you and the trees.
Better yet, do it barefoot.
Stanford University study says spending time in nature benefits mental health
Probably one of the most profound and important studies ever done. It reminds me of a study we looked at in junior high of rats and how, as they increased the population, became more agitated and violent to a point of killing each other. Now look at the United Nations “Agenda 21” and what they have planned for us…what they have already begun…driving everyone into urban areas and designating many public lands off limits. It’s a mad world. 🙂
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