We all know that nature is beneficial but now there is quantifiable, scientific evidence that proves that a walk in the woods is good for us.
When you are feeling blue, or stressed, or overwhelmed, getting out into nature can actually help. According to a multitude of studies, even so much as looking at a natural scene has a positive effect on the brain.
The most recent study is a cognitive neuroscience study that explores the rate of mental illness. It is climbing for unknown reasons but one reason can be attributed to the urban experience. According to the study, 50 percent of people today live in urban areas. While urbanization is known to be associated with mental illness, specifically depression, it is still unclear why.
This study proved that a 90-minute walk through nature “decreases neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex” seen on brain scans, whereas the same walk through an urban setting showed no neural activity at all. This part of the brain is usually associated with “self-focused behavioral withdrawal” which is essentially depression.
This study reveals a pathway by which nature experience may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.
We all know that nature is good for us and that to breathe fresh, clean air can only do good. But now there are actual studies confirming what outdoorsmen have always known.
In a world where everyone is flocking to cities it is good to know that we are physically and mentally benefitting from wide open spaces.