Traffic, social media, TV drama, real-life drama, issues and burdens all contribute to our stress levels. Rather than putting kids in ‘time-out’, perhaps adults need time out. Actually, we do. Time out in nature or even passively watching nature scenes helps de-stress in marked ways. Note today’s excerpted study for further information.

In a recent study, Roger Ulrich, an associate dean in the College of Architecture at Texas A & M University, found that even the briefest exposure to nature can reduce stress.

Even more surprising to Ulrich–how quickly brief bursts of nature work. In some cases, stressed-out subjects relaxed after only three minutes of nature viewing.

In their study, Ulrich and his colleague, University of Delaware psychologist Robert Simons, showed 120 students a graphic, 10-minute accident film. Before and after the film, viewers’ stress levels were evaluated, using such standard measures as blood pressure, muscle tension and heart rate, along with a self-rating of stress.

Next, students viewed a videotape of a nature or urban scene for 10 minutes. One nature scene showed a peaceful river, the other a forest. The urban scenes depicted a street with heavy traffic, a street with light traffic, an outdoor mall with many pedestrians and an outdoor mall with few pedestrians. Viewers’ stress levels were again evaluated.

“Participants recovered more quickly and more completely from stress when exposed to either of the nature settings than to the urban settings,” Ulrich says. “By the end of 10 minutes, people who viewed the nature scenes were as relaxed or sometimes even more relaxed than before viewing the accident film.”

Source: “Nature Has Charms That Can Reduce Stress”. By Kathleen Doheny