In the study, researchers from the University of Michigan recruited 36 city-dwelling adults aged 22 to 68. Throughout the study period, the participants took a “nature pill.” This means that they will spend time in any outdoor location that they felt provided enough elements to allow a true interaction with nature.
The participants couldn’t do aerobic exercise during their nature experience because of the essential requirements of the study and testing involved. They also avoided the internet, phone calls, social media, and conversations or reading of any kind. They did this at least three times a week for at least 10 minutes, for a period of eight weeks.
The participants also gave saliva samples before and after each nature experience. The samples were used to measure and compare each participants’ levels of cortisol and alpha-amylase – both biological markers of stress.
The results showed that both levels of cortisol and alpha-amylase declined significantly in response to nature experience. In addition, the researchers found that a 20- to 30-minute period provides the most efficient stress-reducing benefits. The researchers concluded that spending at least 20 minutes outdoors can have a significant impact in reducing stress levels. (Related: The science of happiness: Researchers suggest taking your next coffee break outside.)
Now that you know that spending time out in nature is an effective de-stressor, you may be wondering what nature activities you can do. Here are several relaxing outdoor activities that will refresh your mind and body:
While these tips can indeed help you out, they can be challenging, especially if you have stayed indoors most of your life. For this reason, it’s best to start small by setting meetups with friends in and outside work.
Read more articles on how to take care of your mental health naturally at MindBodyScience.news.