A healthy lifestyle doesn’t only require you to catch up on sleep, eat healthy and keep moving. It also includes stress management as uncontrolled stress markers can ruin your health and give birth to many health complications.
Stress can cause anxiety, depression, fatigue, muscle pain, chest pain, sleep problems, mood swings and more. It can also lead to alcohol or substance abuse along with lowering your ability to exercise. Moreover, it can also make you eat too much or too less which means other factors of a healthy lifestyle can be controlled by stress.
Science has also found that stress shares a link with the increased risk of cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal problems, and more physical health issues. However, stress can be controlled by simple ways such as music, yoga, and meditation.
Now a new study unveils another way you can lower stress. Accordingly, simply spending time in nature can reduce the markers of cortisol which is the stress hormone.
What Did This New Study Reveal?
A new study which has been published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal and been conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan has found that spending time in nature can reduce stress levels. Researchers involved in this study analyzed the link that nature and stress hormones shared.
For the purpose of this research, adults were asked to take what scientists called “nature pills.” These referred to spending time sitting or walking in nature. Participants were asked to spend at least 10 minutes in nature, three times a week for a period of 8 months.
After every two weeks, the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, of the participants were measured before and after they took nature pills through saliva samples. The date, time, duration and place of sitting and walking in nature were up to the participants. When finding results, factors such as the lifestyle of participants as well as the natural drop in cortisol levels that occurs throughout the day were also considered by researchers.
The lead author of the study, Mary Carol Hunter said, “There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading.”
Findings showed that spending 20 to 30 minutes in nature could lower cortisol levels drastically. The team of researchers said that this study shows the impact that nature can have on our health and daily lives. They said that this assessment can help healthcare facilities in designing customized nature pills for different patients.
Stress can take a severely negative toll on health. However, it can be combated by taking what scientists are calling nature pills. A new study shows that 20 to 30 minutes of time spent in nature can substantially reduce stress markers.