Did you know that living near nature reduces the likelihood of developing a mental disorder when compared to living outside of green areas? Researchers sought to understand why this might be.
The study, including 63 healthy participants, found that:
- An hour-long forest walk reduced activity in the amygdala, which is involved in stress processing.
As defined by this study, a high-quality diet included a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Additionally, these diets had at least two portions of fish per week and were low in both red and processed meats.
The Hearty Take
This study is the first piece of research to provide evidence for a causal link between nature and stress reduction, while previous research had only identified associations. Activation of the amygdala is associated with higher levels of stress and fear. Nature is an accessible and most of the time, free resource to preventing stress by reducing amygdala activity. Feeling stressed or fearful? Take a walk in the forest!