Nature Nurtures

Take a chill pill… from Mother Nature?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Being outdoors in nature is known to reduce stress and anxiety. For those living and working in cities, a stroll in the park can improve their well-being. But how much fresh air does it take to calm the chaotic mind?

MaryCarol Hunter from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor wondered. She and her team prescribed about thirty-five urban dwellers some NATURE PILLS to combat stress.. But not LITERAL pills!

Rather, participants were asked to be outdoors anywhere in green space for ten minutes or more. The dosage? At least three times a week, at any time of day, for eight weeks. Researchers measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva every other week.

Results? As expected, spending time outside helps to lower people’s stress levels. But what’s the most efficient dosage of outdoor therapy? At least twenty to thirty minutes! That’s the prescription that destresses us the fastest.

So DO take the time to smell the flowers! It’s just what Dr. Mom ordered!