Today anxiety and depression are more common thanever in history. One reason is the high level of stress that millions of people around the world experience every day. For example, over the past ten years, in Britain alone, the number of students reporting mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, has increased five-fold. Taking antidepressants has proven effective in treating anxiety and depression, but what things in everyday life can have a positive effect on your mental health?
Staying in the fresh air improves well-being.
More research suggeststhat one way to improve mental health can be as simple as going outside. A recent meta-analysis showed that just 10 minutes a day in nature can be good for mental health. Experience has shown that living in a natural environment can significantly reduce stress levels. Although this solution may seem promising, the search for access to the natural environment may be limited. According to The Conversation, many students with anxiety and depressive disorders are forced to spend most of their time indoors, attending lectures or sitting in the library. Is it worth talking about people who work in an urban environment and do not have free time for short walks in the park.
This is interesting: Why do we have anxiety disorders?
Numerous Benefit Studiesstaying outdoors for health focused on figuring out how much time you need to spend outdoors to make you feel better. The results of one of the studies showed that a stay in nature from 20 to 30 minutes three times a week helped to significantly reduce the level of cortisol (stress hormone) in the blood of the subjects. The results of another study showed that staying in nature 120 minutes a week, compared with the lack of contact with nature, significantly increases the likelihood that a person will report good health.
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Is it enough to spend 10 minutes a day in nature?
Yes. During the meta-analysis, the researchers also tried to determine the minimum amount of time spent in nature, which would have a positive effect on the mental health of young people.
Scientists reviewed a total of 14studies in which 706 students from Japan, the USA and Sweden took part. The age of the subjects ranged from 15 to 30 years. The results showed that, compared with equal time spent in urban conditions, only 10-20 minutes (and up to 50 minutes) of walking or staying in various natural conditions led to a significant improvement in health. The analysis included a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels, an improvement in mood, and a decrease in anxiety.
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These data confirm the results of previousstudies that examined people of all ages. Based on the findings of the meta-analysis, as well as on the growing body of research confirming the benefits of being outdoors for the mental health of both students and citizens of all ages, in general, you should spend as much time as possible outdoors. Moreover, you can try to make walks in the parks a part of your life and a way to deal with stress.