Tag Archives: help

Is A Walk In The Park Really Going To Help Your Mood?

Yes. Most likely it is going to help. Walking in the park, really can help change your mood for the better.

Whatever you struggle with, parkgoing for a walk in an area that’s filled with trees and foliage, will generally make you feel better. This is particularly true for those of us who live in urban environments. There are studies that compare how the brain responds to a walk in the park and a walk in an industrial area.

One of these studies is featured in a New York Times article by Gretchen Reynolds, entitled, “How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain.”Reynolds writes, “Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.”

“Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, who has been studying the psychological effects of urban living”, conducted the study.

walk“As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people’s minds. Blood flow to their subgenual prefrontal cortex was still high and their broodiness scores were unchanged.

But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.”

“These results ‘strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.'”

Why not conduct your own experiment? bigstock-wood-textured-backgrounds-in-a-37191499Notice how you feel when you go for a walk in your city. What do you hear, smell and see? How do the people you pass seem? Do they look harried and anxious or content and focused?

Now, go to a park. Do you smell and feel that the air is a bit cleaner and clearer? How does the grass feel beneath your feet? What is the light like? What sounds do you hear?

I’d like to know. Tell me, how does a walk in the park change your mood?

Is Change Good?

There is a wonderful Ted Talk given by Luke Syson, entitled, How I learned to stop worrying and love “useless” art. “Luke Syson was a curator of Renaissance art, of transcendent paintings of saints and solemn Italian ladies — serious art. And then he changed jobs, and inherited the Met’s collection of ceramics — pretty, frilly, “useless” candlesticks and vases. He didn’t like it. He didn’t get it.”

Syson talks about preparing to curate a show in which there are Leonardo da Vinci paintings. He discusses the beauty and complexity of the pieces. He has an obvious respect for the work and the artist. Then Syson discusses a turning point for him when he moves to another job where he will curate three dimensional pieces, sculptures- not paintings. He seems fine with the move until he actually sees a piece that will be a part of his show. Syson is horrified. The piece (at first) seems undignified, ugly, pointless and “useless” to him.

 

Eventually, Syson began to learn about, admire and even love the piece that he originally despised. When he changed his mind, he made me think about the necessity of change and how my clients (and I) deal with it.

People generally come to me because there is something that is about to change and they don’t like it or they want to make a change because they’re unhappy. Like Syson, they may be in a job that they don’t like but in order to make the job bearable, they try and find something positive about it. Syson was offered a new job and he knew that if he was going to enjoy it, he needed to find something about it that he liked. So, consciously or not, he began to look differently at the piece he once hated and now appreciates. Maybe he changed his mind because after learning more about the piece, he developed a real fondness for something that he once abhorred. The way that Syson talked about the object that he once looked down upon, he now talks about with admiration.

Change is a difficult but necessary part of life. The more we resist it, the stronger IT becomes. When we find something positive in something we fear or dislike, life gets a lot easier. A good therapist is someone who helps navigate the changes in your life and prepares you for accepting them and moving forward.

If there’s a challenge in your life that frightens you, that’s generally a precursor to change. How can we expect anything to be different if we keep doing the same things in the same ways? Let me help you feel strong enough to deal with the changes. Who knows, maybe you’ll eventually welcome them? For more information about me and how I can help you, contact me here.