Yearly Archives: 2021

Feeling Stressed? Find a Tree! by Vicki Tillman, LPCMH, BCC

Many Americans are reporting feeling stressed these days. In fact, the APA Monitor reported that over 60 percent of American adults say they feel stressed about money or work. i

The good news is that there is a little bit of stress relief right outside! How about trying trees for stress relief?

A recent study reported by Greater Good at University of California/Berkeley compared 15 minute walks for participants, either in an urban (treeless) setting or an urban place where there are trees. The tree-walkers reported significant improvement in anxiety compared to the treeless walkers. (Also reported were improvements for the tree-walkers in feelings of hostility, fatigue, confusion and depressive symptoms.) ii

Another study found similar results by simply having participants either gaze for 15 minutes at urban trees (in this case, bare winter trees), or an urban, treeless setting. Again those who gazed at the trees experienced significant improvement in mood and energy compared to those who gazed at treeless settings. ii

Another study had their participants walk in a forest one day and an urban, treeless setting another day. On the days they walked in the forest, participants experienced significant improvements in cortisol levels (a stress hormone), lower blood pressure, more active parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that calms you down. ii

If you are feeling stressed, it might do your stress levels good to go out tree gazing or tree walking! Be your own scientist: Are your stress levels going down?

Sometimes stress builds up and becomes anxiety. When you find your stress and anxiety levels becoming uncomfortable, trees can help, but they may not be enough. That’s where counseling comes in. Schedule an appointment at Pike Creek Psychological Center to find help and healing.

i https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/12/numbers

ii https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_trees_can_make_you_happier

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