Media Project – Nature Walks

This particular research study, titled “Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation”, discussed an experiment that was conducted to see if walking through nature was better for one’s overall mental health than walking through urban areas.  39 healthy participants were given a rumination self-report, or a Reflection Rumination Questionnaire (RRQ), in which they answered questions regarding their perceived level of rumination.  Rumination is a state of deep, often negative thought and can sometimes lead to anxiety and stress.  Participants also had a brain scan, in which activity in the brain, specifically in the sgPFC, is examined.  That area of the brain is known to show more activity during this type of negative, self-reflective thought and behavioral changes that occur during rumination.  After recording the participants’ rumination levels, they were each randomly assigned to either go on a 90-minute walk through nature or a 90-minute walk through a busy urban area.  Phones were given to each participant to make sure they stayed on the path and actually walked the whole 90 minutes.  Immediately after each participants’ walk they were given the Reflection Rumination Questionnaire again and went through the brain scan.  Results based on the Reflection Rumination Questionnaire showed that those who went on the nature walk showed a decrease in self-reported rumination.  For the sgPFC scan, participants who walked through nature showed a decrease in blood flow, a sign of relaxation and a sign of a decrease in sgPFC activity.  Those who walked in the urban areas did not have a decrease in blood flow.  These findings could possibly mean that living in urban areas could be a contributing factor to mental illnesses.  On the other hand, walking through and constantly seeing nature can be very beneficial for anxiety and other mental issues.  The lesson to be taken away from this experiment is that it wouldn’t hurt to get out of the house and go to your local park every now and then.  In fact, it would be very beneficial for your overall metal health.


Summarizing this article was not too challenging for me.  Although, it did require some thinking and problem-solving skills to make a decision of what information to leave out.  Throughout the article, I noticed that a lot of the results from the experiment were repeated and said in different ways.  I could have done the same thing, but I thought clearly stating the final results of the experiment once would be enough in order to process the outcome of the study.  I decided to add the process and the preparation  for the experiment to get a better idea of what the researchers were specifically looking for and testing for.  I also thought it was important, although a minor detail, to say that the participants were all relatively young and healthy.  This fact makes the results of the study even more impressive.  Despite the healthy state of the participants, the area in which you walk through affected them greatly.  Now that there’s scientific evidence supporting a more nature-centered lifestyle and that being around nature helps with mental health, hopefully more schools and parents will implement nature walks and time spent outside into their children’s lives.  Having to summarize this article into my own words has been slightly challenging at times, but overall, I think the summary represents the article very well.  This process also made me grateful for and impressed by the real professional journalists who summarize articles and research findings everyday into a form the public can understand and relate to.


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