Portland, Maine (WiredPRNews.com) — People handle stress in many different ways from getting angry to compulsive eating or even crying uncontrollably. There are so many variations of stress relievers that it can be hard for one to know the best and most natural way to handle times of stress and anxiety.
Instead of plopping down in front of the television to drown your sorrows in sitcoms and pizza commercials, a study involving 90 college students published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology suggests that taking in a long, peaceful view of nature scenes out the window. Finding and focusing on natural environments such as sunshine and water, the U.S. study found, can actually help alleviate minor stress levels.
According to Reuters, the study conducted at the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Lab at the University of Washington wanted to find out “whether nature, either the real thing or depicted technologically, can impact on minor stress levels.” Two controlled groups were monitored by measuring the subjects’ heart recover rate during times of minor stress while being exposed to natural scenery through a window, as well as being exposed to the same scenery projected on a high-definition plasma screen or bare wall.
A statement issued by the researchers of the study noted, “The heart rate of people who looked at the scene through the window dropped more quickly than the others. In fact, the high-definition plasma screen had no more effect than the blank wall.” The researchers also concluded that the subject’s heart rates tended to decrease when they spent more time relaxing while looking that the natural environment versus looking at the plasma screen.
Peter Kahn, who led the research team, said, “Technology is good and it can help our lives, but let’s not be fooled into thinking we can live without nature. But as a species we need interaction with actual nature for our physical and psychological well-being.”
In the modern age of satellite television, the general public seems to be losing touch with nature and the experience of enjoying a slower pace of growth and relaxation. In contrast, recent generations have grown up watching nature from the comfort of the couch on the Discovery Channel. Still, nothing beats sitting in silence watching the breeze whisk through the leaves and this new study confirms that nature really is the best medicine.
Wired Health Reporter