Tag Archives: mood

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?

Does Food Affect Your Mood?

In an article written by Steve Holt on Takepart.com, Holt explores the ways in which what we eat has a direct influence on how we feel.

Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, a professor at the University of Calgary says that before the turn of the last century, food was used for healing purposes. Some foods are still used today to treat CXL-chicken-soup-recipes-homemade-chicken-soup-de-KYsYVo-97314619common physical ailments. For example, there’s chicken soup for a cold, ginger to relieve a stomach ache and honey to soothe a sore throat. “From around 1950 or so, there was an explosion of research on medications,” she says. “Big pharma took over the treatment of psychiatric illnesses, and we lost centuries of knowledge.”

Not only can food help to heal but it can also affect one’s mood. Notice how you feel after a big meal. Are you tired and listless? After eating a salad for lunch or dinner, with fresh vegetables, whole grains and protein, do you feel lighter and more energized? When you eat food comaprocessed burgers and candy, how do you feel physically and emotionally? Probably not so good. You may get an initial high but you may also experience a dramatic crash. When blood sugar plummets you may crave more of those foods in order to feel energized again. You may notice after eating that you feel up, both physically and psychologically but then you feel low, depressed and tired. It can become a vicious cycle.

“In a 2012 study with colleague Karen M. Davison, Ph.D., R.D., published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, the authors recruited 97 adults diagnosed with a mood disorder to record their diets and moods (how they felt throughout each day) over a three-day period. At the end of the study, Kaplan and Davison found that participants’ vitamin and nutrient intake was “consistently and reliably” associated with better moods and mental health.”

I have found that neurofeedback happy and healthyis even more effective when sleep hygiene is practiced and “cleaner eating” is observed. Ironically, we can be drawn to sugar and caffeine when we are feeling depressed and anxious, however, consuming those substances can perpetuate those feelings. According to the article (and many studies) what we eat can not only affect our bodies but our brains as well.

To learn more about the relationship between food and mood and how neurofeedback and help you feel better, contact me.