Spending Time in Nature Proves to Be Incredibly Beneficial to the Human Brain

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If you’re like most people, you get a strong feeling of well-being and relaxation when you escape our digital world and spend a few hours or even minutes in the mountains, near a forest. If you’ve also been wondering why the phenomenon occurs, you made it to the right place.

There’s no need to be the next Stephen Hawking to figure out that for the most part, human history has been tied to bucolic surroundings rather than the urban environments that so many of us are used to nowadays. New research now comes to motivate us even more to spend our holidays in places where lots of grass, trees, and plants exist.

Urban environments could lead to mental issues

According to ScienceAlert, new research informs us about the risk of spending too much time in urban settings – it seems to be some kind of connection between living in such areas and increased risk for mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia.

As you’ve already guessed, the solution is to spend more time in the wilderness. This will help you not only mentally, but physically as well. Spending more time far from the urban world has been associated with faster healing, better sleeping, lower blood pressure, and more.

63 volunteers were asked to complete surveys, perform a working memory task, as well as undergo fMRI scans while they answer questions. The participants were asked to take a short walk in an urban environment or in nature, both places being located in Berlin. Another fMRI scan was taken by each participant after the walk, along with another survey completed and a stress-inducing task.

The scans showed reduced activity in the amygdala, a structure in the center of our brains, after the walk in nature. Amygdala is involved in emotional learning, stress processing, and more. The results indicate that the wilderness can benefit our mental health in only an hour, meaning the same time the participants spent on their little walk.

Simone Kühn,  an environmental neuroscientist and head of the Lise Meitner Group for Environmental Neuroscience from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, stated:

The results support the previously assumed positive relationship between nature and brain health, but this is the first study to prove the causal link.

You can find the new study in Molecular Psychiatry.

 

Cristian Antonescu
Cristian is in love with technology as many of us. He has a vast experience as a content writer in the field. He's involved especially in the gaming area, where he covers the latest news in open-world, role-playing, and first-person shooter titles.