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Ecotherapy: Can It Help Your Stress Levels?


Feeling stressed? Have midterms been lingering on your mind? Does your life feel like it’s spiraling out of control? Well, science says that taking a quick trip outdoors might just help ease some of that tension.

(Photo by Emmanuel Maceda https://unsplash.com/photos/SjV9hb4fqow)

In April of 2016, Peter James and a team at Harvard University published a study looking into the relationship between exposure to the outdoors and death rates. They studied 100,000 female nurses living in the United States over an eight-year period and discovered that those living in the greenest areas had a 12 percent lower death rate compared to those living in more urban locations.

To find the information supporting the study, they collected information on doctor-diagnosed depression and coordinating medications. Improved mental health, dealing with varying ranges of depression, was estimated to explain nearly 30 percent of the benefit from living around green spaces.

So not only does nature exposure lead to a longer life, but it also alleviates some symptoms and discomfort related to mental illness. Besides just being outside, growing plants and trees can also help. The gentle exercise of planting and potting as well as caring and nurturing something can take your mind off of whatever current situation you are dealing with and bring focus to the scenery of nature, which has proven to be relaxing.

(Photo by: Thanh Tran https://unsplash.com/photos/qtvhQL-MXZU)

Ecotherapy and its growing popularity relates back to our biology. It has been shown that the calming effect of nature falls back upon primal instincts and our innate desire for the natural world.

So if you’re ever feeling a little stressed or under the weather, just remember to take a step into nature, go for a walk, and breathe in the wonderful outdoor world.

For more information, visit: –http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/mood-disorders/nature-cognitive-anxiety-depression-mood/article/448018/

Katherine is currently a freshman at Agnes Scott College with an intended double major in Nursing and Public Health. She grew up traveling in a military family and hopes to continue her journeys by going abroad or joining the Peace Corps. When outside of school, Katherine enjoys hiking, horseback riding, and volunteering. Although she doesn't plan on having a writing career, Katherine uses writing as a creative outlet and enjoys learning about new disciplines.
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