Written by Carolyn Gregoire
Whenever one is feeling stressed, or upset, instead of indulging in comfort food in order to reduce stress levels and improve mood, try going for a walk in nature. It has been proven by a study done at the researchers at the University of Michigan that going for group nature walks may help to reduce stress and improve mood, as well as numerous other mental health benefits which also include a reduced amount of depression, and improvements in overall well-being and better mental and emotional health. Positive effects on mood seem to be huge especially for persons who have gone through a life trauma, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a serious illness.
The study, which was published in the Journal Ecopsychology, had included 1,991 individuals who all belonged to England’s “Walking for Health” Program, which holds over 3,000 walks on a weekly basis. Researchers then compared their notes against those individuals who regularly participated in group nature walks against those who did not.
Besides improvements that were noted on the individuals perceived mental health, the regular walks also helped to lessen the effects of stressful, and traumatic life events on perceived stress and negative affect, while enlivening the participants with physical activity which showed improvements in a positive affect and mental well-being.
Walking does not cost anything to participate, only a good pair of walking shoes, and a desire to go out into nature and walk with others. It is a low risk and easily accessible activity, and combining these things with nature and walking with other people in groups, it may work as a very powerful, stress reducer.
Daily walking and reaching your daily steps could help to lead you to improved heart health, lowered stress, improved mood, confidence and overall wellness, healthy weight, stronger bones, and better creative thinking ability. A 2013 study done in Great Britain discovered that walking in nature help help to bring the brain into a natural state of meditation. Also jogging outside makes people 50% more happy than if they were working out in an indoor gym, was discovered in another study.