WHEN YOU HAVE 20 MINUTES, POP A
” NATURE PILL”
Spending just twenty minutes in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature can significantly lower your stress levels, say scientists who recommend that ‘nature-pills’ can have a measurable effect on our well-being. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, has established for the first time the most effective dose of an urban nature experience.
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” said MaryCarol Hunter, an associate professor at the University of Michigan in the US.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature…”.
For the assessment, they asked a group of adults to take “nature pills” — to spend some time either sitting or walking in nature. They were required to spend 10 minutes or more in nature at least three times a week for an eight-month period.
Once every two weeks, the scientists measured the participants’ levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, using saliva samples taken before and after a nature pill. After analyzing the results, they found having a 20-minute nature experience reduced cortisol levels. In fact, those who spent 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking outside had the greatest decrease of cortisol levels.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature,” said lead author MaryCarol Hunter.
“I like to think of it in extremes. In a megacity, a concrete jungle pretty much, what does it take to have it be a good space? And if it’s a little dead tree, periodically, that’s probably not going to do it. But if it’s something that provides a sense of protection, a slight microhabitat, which can come down to the tree species you select, then maybe you’re in business,” says Hunter.
KONTOR 202 | Atelier & Lifestyle Lounge builds natural and sustainable environments, in harmony with nature. Each decoration transmits the benefits and sensations that nature brings both to the indoor environment and the people that occupy these spaces.