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Trees reduce stress and anxiety


Recent studies show that even spending brief moments in the woods, or even watching one from a window, can have a real and positive impact on our brains, reduce stress and help us feel revived.


Study # 1 - Watch an urban landscape with and without trees for 15 min


In a recent study, some subjects were asked to look for a quarter of an hour at an urban landscape composed only of buildings and roads (Suttie, 2019); other subjects spent the same time looking at straight, leafless trees in winter, including in an urban landscape. The study showed that those who stared at trees were in a much better frame of mind, with more positive emotions, felt more vibrant, and had a higher degree of personal relaxation than those who stared at buildings and roads. .


Study # 2 - Watch a forest landscape for 15 min


Likewise, in another study, young adults reported their mood after a 15-minute walk in a forest or city landscape (Suttie, 2019). In all cases, the subjects walking among the trees reported less confusion, fatigue, hostility, anxiety and depression and felt more energetic; Interestingly, participants who initially had high levels of anxiety had even higher positive results.


Indeed, a third study introduced the idea of ​​higher “amygdala integrity” for participants living in a green environment; their brain structures have been shown to be better able to deal with stressful elements (Suttie, 2019).


Having a view of real or virtual nature reduces stress and anxiety


What to do on a rainy day when it is not so easy to go out for a walk in the forest? Just having a view of nature, whether real or virtual, produces a similar positive impact. A study from the 1980s showed that patients recovered faster after surgery if a hospital room window overlooked a natural landscape. Subsequent research showed that simply showing pictures of Nature improved subjects' feelings and enabled them to better handle complex tasks (BBC Radio 4, nd).


References

  • BBC Radio 4, nd BBC Radio 4 - Forest 404 - Why we should listen to trees. BBC. (accessed 6.8.19).

  • Suttie, J., 2019. How Trees Help You Stress Less. Mindful. (accessed 6.8.19).