Sunday , December 11 2016

CAN HIKING REALLY CHANGE OUR BRAINS?

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Hiking in nature is good for your body, mind and soul; the winds will blow their freshness into you, nature’s peace will flow into you and cares will drop off like autumn leaves. Walking through the woods while smelling the aroma of pine trees, listening to a soothing running stream and observing colorful birds and foliage simply make us feel good and clear our mind. Many studies show that spending time hiking in nature has several mental health benefits.

Those who think too much of negative thoughts can exhibit depression, anxiety and other issues such as post- traumatic stress disorder or binge eating. A recent study revealed that hiking in nature reduces rumination and obsessive negative thoughts. In this study, there were two groups of participants: one hiking through an urban environment and the other through a nature environment.

The second group reported lower levels of rumination than the first group. Researchers indicated that urbanization is linked to depression and other mental and psychological illnesses. Simply moving from an urban environment to a natural one where there is less noise and fewer mental stressors can be very beneficial for our mental health.

According to another study, creative problem solving can be improved by reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from technology. Participants in this study went hiking in nature for four days and they were not allowed to use technology.

When they were asked to do tasks requiring creative problem solving, they showed increased and improved performance by 50%. Researchers pointed out that the noise and technology of urban areas constantly disturb us and distract our attention, weighing down our cognitive functions.

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We are feeling overwhelmed from being plugged- in 24/ 7 and from the stressors of urban life, thus nature hikes can be a strong remedy to soothe our minds, help us think creatively and reduce our mental fatigue.

HIKING REALLY CHANGE OUR BRAINS

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