How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature. City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show, as urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have more psychological problems than people living near parks and that visiting natural environments reduce stress hormone levels immediately afterward. Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at Stanford University and his colleagues tracked activity in that part of the brain (the subgenual prefrontal cortex, specifically) and found volunteers walking through nature were more attentive and happier afterward than volunteers who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic.

(Source: Gretchen Reynolds Image Courtesy of trailtalk.com)

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