Depressed? Go Outside

Feeling blue?  Get some green.

That's what a new study in Wisconsin has found.  

According to newswise.com, "The more green space in the neighborhood, the happier people reported feeling."

In the study, “Higher levels of green space were associated with lower symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress," the Web site quotes Dr. Kristen Malecki, assistant professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

(I spent one blustery, freezing winter in Minnesota and nearby Wisconsin.  Maybe it's the end of snow that does it?  Just a thought.)

In the study about 2,500 Wisconsin residents from 229 neighborhoods answered an assessment that asked them to rate their symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. 

Researchers found that across all strata of society, people who lived in a neighborhood with less than 10 percent tree canopy were much more likely to report symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. Interestingly, a poor person living in a rural area with lots of trees was more likely to be happy than a wealthier person living on a treeless block in Milwaukee.

Malecki notes that the study gives credence to a theory "which holds that more time in nature restores the ability to concentrate and reduces mental fatigue. “The greening of neighborhoods could be a simple solution to reducing stress,” says Malecki. “If you want to feel better, go outside.”
 I know that's true for me.  Even in the winter I jog outside and I know when I come back inside, I'm feeling much better than when I left the house.  When my husband and I were in a long period of arguments about money and work, I would put on my running shoes and go out and guaranteed when I came home, I was in a better place.  (He wasn't, but that didn't matter!).

Don't know whether it's the endorphins or just the clean, fresh air (even in winter) that restores me.  But I love being outside, and when I used to run in a wooded park, the trees somehow pulled me up, too.  

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