Your weekly dose of stress relief: Volume 14

By Doug Mattushek - 11 September 2019Views : 303


In partnership with Health Grinder, SA Breaking News will be publishing weekly tips and tricks to help reduce your stress levels...

43. Spend Time in Nature

While going outside and spending some time under the sunshine provides us with the benefits of vitamin D and serotonin, do one even better and immerse yourself in nature.

Spending some time in the park or trail where you can enjoy the green grass and trees has been effective in lifting our moods.

Studies show that taking time out, even just to walk in nature can reduce feelings of depression.

In an experiment performed by the University of Essex, 71% of those who walked in nature experienced lower depressive feelings, whereas only 45% of those who walked in shopping malls did so.

Labeled as ecotherapy, the research also shows that nature walks, compared to those done indoors, yielded better results in terms of improving self-esteem as well.

The added physical activity, connection with nature, sensory stimulation and escape from daily life likewise contribute to alleviating stress.

While ecotherapy may be a modern term, the Japanese have already been doing this since the 1980s. Termed as Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, one followed slow, guided walks through a forest immersing one’s senses to whatever nature offers.

Experimenting with 24 forests throughout Japan, researchers observed that compared to walking in city environments, forest bathing resulted in lower cortisol levels, reduced blood pressure, slower pulse rates and increased parasympathetic nervous system activity.

All of which show a calming and relaxation effect.

44. Take a Stroll

If you live in an urban space and going to a nature based surrounding is a stretch, then by all means still take some time out for a nice walk.

Whether it’s indoors, like somewhere in a shopping mall, or around your neighborhood, taking a simple stroll helps alleviate stress.

Korean researchers found that walking, as well as Korean mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques were able to help lower cortisol levels in patients who have diabetes.

Those in the walking group also experienced reductions in their psychological responses to stress.

45. Do Some Gardening

If you’re not a fan of structured forms of physical activity, then try gardening instead.

Gardening offers a combination of different things that helps with stress reduction. These include spending time outside, engaging with nature, and physical activity.

It also helps you relax and focus on something other than what’s been bothering you.

Research from the Netherlands notes that gardening proved to be a better stress buster than reading. The study was performed by giving participants a stressful test.

After which, one group was assigned to 30 minutes of gardening outdoors, while another group indoors to enjoy a book to read.

While both groups experienced reductions in cortisol levels after the half hour of activity, those who spent time in the garden showed bigger decreases.

Also, the task of gardening restored positive moods to that group. The garden participants also felt replenished, whereas the reading group deteriorated in mood.