For a lot of us, it feels like going to the forest is going home. I’ve never really thought too hard about it, but even when I’m at my worst, spending time in nature seems to set my mind at ease.
Now new research is backing up what many of us know. Researchers at Stanford University found that spending time outside in nature helps break the mind out of cycles of negative thought.
This is great specifically for people who suffer anxiety and depression, but also anyone feeling bored or a little on edge with their lives.
Researchers compared people who spent an hour and a half in an urban setting, like the downtown area of a large city, to people who’d spent 90 minutes in nature and found that those who spent time in nature exhibited less neutral activity in the brain associated with mental illness.
The study’s authors figured that a few different things were at work, from disconnecting from technology and social media easing the strain on our minds to the fact that exercise is good for both the body and the mind.
Of course, I know I personally don’t need a study to tell me to go for a hike. Grab a backpack, some water, and a friend and hit the trails!