The next time you need to unwind, try a walk through the park. That commonsense advice is now backed up by research.
A new study from scientists at Heriot-Watt University in the U.K. shows that the brain enters a meditative state when you spend time in a green space.
For the study, researchers connected 12 healthy adults to mobile electroencephalography devices to measure their brain activity and emotions while moving through three different environments in Edinburgh: a city shopping street, a green space, and a street in a busy business area.
In the green space, participants had the strongest feelings related to meditation and lesser feelings of frustration, long-term excitement and engagement. In non-science speak, they were more able to let go.
The findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and have "implications for promoting urban green space as a mood-enhancing environment for walking or for other forms of physical or reflective activity," the researchers wrote in the study.
Walking in a park or hiking outdoors also has several other health benefits. Spending time in nature can help you conquer mental fatigue and boost your cognitive functioning, according to numerous studies.