Forget Pills, Take a Stroll to De-Stress: Says Study

Forget Pills, Take a Stroll to De-Stress: Says Study

Your doctor will soon stop prescribing Prozac for stress, and ask you to take a walk in nature instead! Yes, the term nature pills finds its way into a medical prescription now. A study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, associates level of stress hormone with exposure to nature. The key finding is that spending 20 minutes in nature substantially reduces stress hormone levels.

Test Subjects Took ‘Nature Pill’ for 8 Months

Researchers from the University of Michigan conducted experiments with a group of adults to assess this association.  Over an eight-month period, the subjects took ‘nature pills’ in the form of taking a walk or even sitting for some time in nature. Researchers mandated spending at least 10 minutes in nature thrice a week. The choice of nature experience, time of the day, and duration were left up to the participants. Every two weeks, the researchers measured the subjects’ cortisol (a stress hormone) levels before and after taking the nature pill.

Natural and Free Stress Relieving Remedy for All

Rising urbanization and indoor lifestyle necessitate a realistic estimate of an effective dose. Further, rising depression levels and artificial environments lead to an epidemic like condition, effectively termed as a ‘nature-deficit disorder’. An older study finds that teens residing near green spaces are less depressed than those in urbanized areas. However, urbanization and lifestyle changes are irreversible processes. Therefore it is vital to find ways to control and reduce stress, instead.

MaryCarol Hunter, lead researcher of the study emphasizes that the goal of the study was to articulate a ‘nature prescription’ for health care providers. While it is established that spending time in nature reduces stress, the duration, and frequency was unclear; she says. This study points medical health practitioners in the way of a prescribable nature-centric solution.

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