Life in big cities makes people more prone to mental illness and anxiety. The group that walked in the park was much calmer and with less activity in the prefrontal cortex.
Several studies indicate that people who live in the centers of large cities are more prone to anxiety and mental illness than those who live closer to nature.
Gregory Bratman, an undergraduate student at Stanford University in the United States, decided to conduct a deeper experiment on the subject.
The student and his team selected 38 people living in busy cities for the project. At first, they checked the blood flow in the participants' prefrontal cortex of the brain using tomography. They consider that the more blood, the more activity the brain performs. In addition, volunteers also completed a questionnaire to assess their level of contentment.
Participants were divided into two groups. The former was instructed to walk in a quiet, leafy part of Stanford campus, while the latter had to walk in the busiest part of downtown Palo Alto, California. They could not bring company or listen to music during these walks.
After an hour and a half of walking, the volunteers once again underwent the tomography and answered the questionnaires. According to the results, those walking in the center became more agitated, with plenty of blood flow in the prefrontal cortex.
Participants who walked the wooded path showed more positivity in their questionnaires and had less blood circulating in the prefrontal cortex.
According to Bratman, several aspects of the research have yet to be improved, but for now, "a walk to the nearest park can help you get lost."