Spending some time out in nature, for example for at least twenty minutes every day, will be the best possible way of decreasing our levels of stress, according to one study from recently, which was published in Frontiers in Psychology.
One Associate Professor from Michigan University, and also the study’s lead author, named Dr. Mary Carol Hunter, explained:
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress. But until now it was unclear how much is enough. How often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us. Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”
In the experiment which lasted for eight weeks, there were 44 participants. The name that scientists gave to this experiment was “nature pill.” The participants were supposed to spend about 10 minutes out in nature, three times a week.
They were also asked to avoid communication and talking physical exercise, and reading at the time of those 10 minutes. Social media, internet, and phones were also off the limits. The participants had the chances to choose when or where they will take this “nature pill,” or how long are they going to stay outdoors. However, they need to commit that they will have real contact with the nature around them.
Dr. Hunter gave an explanation:
“Building personal flexibility into the experiment, allowed us to identify the optimal duration of a nature pill. No matter when or where it is taken, and under the normal circumstances of modern life, with its unpredictability and hectic scheduling.”
Also, each of the participants took samples of saliva before and also after he or she had his or her “nature pill.” Those samples have been sent to researchers, at the end of the first, and then the third, and the seventh week.
The scientists analyzed the saliva, and after that, they discovered that the levels of cortisol decreased by about 21 percent per hour in those participants who spend 20-30 minutes out in nature. This stress hormone has been reduced by about 12 percent per hour.
Dr. Hunter gave another explanation:
“We accommodated day to day differences in a participant’s stress status. We did that by collecting four snapshots of cortisol change due to the ‘’natural pill.” It also allowed us to identify and account for the impact of the ongoing, natural drop in cortisol level as the day goes on. That made the estimate of effective duration more reliable.”
“The data revealed that just a twenty-minute nature experience was enough to reduce cortisol levels significantly. But if you spent a little more time immersed in nature experience, 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking, cortisol levels dropped at their greatest rate. After that, additional de-stressing benefits continue to add up but at a slower rate.”
Moreover, according to one study from previously which the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health conducted, it was discovered that exercising outside could definitely improve the mood of people and could also be an excellent stress reliever.
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