Sometimes city life can be exciting. There’s always so much to do, there are always people hurrying off in all directions… There is a palpable energy and vivacity to city living, especially in springtime when the warmer weather brings people out of their homes and out on the street.
However, sometimes living in the centre of all the hustle and bustle can be taxing. Studies show that people who live in urban areas experience higher levels of stress than other people and have a lower threshold for stress tolerance in general. There are social stressors, such as being among masses of people constantly, and environmental factors, such as pollution and constant noise, that contribute to stress. If you have ever felt a kind of ‘city fatigue’ and a subsequent urge to escape, you are not alone.
Recent research coming from Japan is exploring the effectiveness of Forest Therapy (also known as Forest Bathing) in reducing stress, among other things. Research shows that walks in a forested environment lowers the level of stress hormone present in an individual’s body, lowers blood pressure, and increases the presence of immune-boosting cells in the body. Further research has shown that just spending even one day a week in a park or other natural environment has similar, yet obviously not as pronounced, effects.
If you are finding yourself stressing out more than usual, if you’re finding that you’re flying off the handle at seemingly minor issues, or if you’re experiencing increasing anxiety recently, try taking one day this week to explore a local park or, if you can, a forested area. Spend some time connecting with nature and see the difference it can make to your wellbeing.