Possibility of reducing stress by changing brain activity just by spending ``1 hour'' in nature

Many research results have been reported that ``contacting nature and living in places with a lot of nature improve mental health,'' but the effects of nature on the cranial nerves are still not fully understood. In a new study, experiments confirmed that just `` taking an hour walk in nature '' affects the

amygdala in the brain.

How nature nurtures: Amygdala activity decreases as the result of a one-hour walk in nature | Molecular Psychiatry

How does nature nurture the brain? Study shows that a one-hour walk in nature reduces stress-related brain activity -- ScienceDaily

Just one hour spent in nature can reduce stress and help you feel better

At the time of writing the article , more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, and it is expected that the urban population will continue to increase in the future. On the other hand, in recent years, research results have been reported that living in urban areas increases stress and adversely affects mental health.

Meanwhile, attention is being focused on the theory that ``contact with nature'' improves mental health. Studies have shown that children who live near children have better cognitive abilities and mental health. However, the neurological mechanisms by which nature improves mental health are still not well understood.

The amygdala, a brain region involved in stress processing, has been shown to be less activated in people who live in rural areas compared to those who live in urban areas. However, Sonja Sudimac , a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany, pointed out that the results are fraught with the question of 'egg or chicken first.' 'The question is whether nature actually affected the brain, or whether individuals with certain tendencies chose to live in rural or urban areas,' he said.

Therefore, Sudimac et al.'s research team devised an experiment to see if spending time in nature directly reduces people's stress response and how it affects the amygdala. First, the research team conducted a questionnaire on 63 recruited healthy subjects, performed a stress-inducing task, and measured brain activity with an

fMRI scan.

After that, the subjects were divided into two groups, which were pseudo-randomized so that the male-female ratio was equal, and one group was `` Grunewald , a forest area near Berlin'' and the other group was ``traffic and shopping. It was said that he was allowed to walk for an hour in the urban area of Berlin where there are malls.

In the image below, 'a' shows the route walked by each group, 'b' is the Grunewald forest, and 'c' is the urban area of Berlin. After completing the walk, subjects were taken back to the testing room by taxi, where they were again subjected to stress-inducing tasks and fMRI scans.

An analysis of the experimental data showed that the group that took a walk in the Grünewald forest reduced amygdala activity in response to stress, while the group that took a walk in the city showed no change in amygdala activity.

The results of this study show that exposure to urban areas does not necessarily increase an individual's stress response, but that contact with nature can reduce amygdala activity. In addition, both groups took the same amount of time for the walk itself, suggesting that it was not the walking itself that brought about the change, but the fact that the place where they walked was in the middle of nature. .

In a paper, the research team said, ``Our research has shown that one hour of exposure to nature reduces stress-related amygdala activity in the brain, which has a positive impact on health. , suggesting that taking a walk in nature can mitigate the negative effects of the urban environment on stress-related sites and may be a preventive measure against mental illness.'

Simone Kühn of the research team said, ``Our results support the long-anticipated positive relationship between nature and brain health, but it is also the first study to prove a causal relationship. , activity in these brain regions remained stable and did not increase after city walks, contrary to the common view that urban exposure causes additional stress.' said.

In addition, the research team is studying the effects of walking in urban or natural environments on mothers and babies to investigate the benefits of nature in various populations and age groups.

in Science, Posted by log1h_ik