Parking off is a pick me up for brain’s that are blue

brain taking a walk in a parkAre you suffering from mid-year blues ? Looking for a bit of a pick me up, but you’re on a tight budget ?

This week’s Neurotechnology Tip brings you a great low cost brain pick me up, courtesy of research carried out at Baycrest Centre.

Sinking thinking

Odds are if you’re feeling blue, it’s because your mind is dwelling on negative things.

The trouble with this kind of downbeat thinking, is once you start with the sinking thinking ,you can easily get stuck in this groove. You end up feeling increasingly unenthusiastic and pretty demotivated.

Stirring up the blues

Eager to find out what things would help people overcome the blues. The Baycrest team recruited 20 individuals who had a history of some serious blues, the participants had all been diagnosed with depression.

The research team then helped the volunteers really feel blue, by encouraging them to think about what was wrong in their lives.

They ran a few tests to confirm, their volunteers were definitely feeling VERY BLUE.

Before sending them on a very long walk…

Walking on the wild side

Hooked up to a GPS, which could track their every move, the participants set forth on an hour long walk.

They were randomly assigned to complete the two walk options :

  • On one occasion, the long walk took the participants through the streets of the city of Ann Arbor. The route deliberately took them to the really busy part of town, with traffic jams and lots of hussle n bussle.
  • On the other occasion, the long walk was through a peaceful woodland.

Parking off is a pick up

At the end of the walk, the team used the same battery of tests to analyze participants’ thinking abilities and overall mood.

Just taking a walk PERIOD, lifted everyone’s mood.

But the woodland park did a bit more than just eradicate the negative mood, the birds and the bees, flowers and trees sparked better thinking too. Participants exhibits a 16 % increase in attention and working memory, following the nature walk.

The team think the walk in the park produced more cognitive benefits, because there were fewer distractions, allowing the brain to take a mini-vacation.

Take a walk on the wild side

So if you really do feel you need a pick me up and you’re on a tight budget – step outside and take a walk, on the wild side or with a “wild” animal.

If you can swing it, go wild and natural. However, if you’re stuck in the urban jungle, don’t let that stop you. Your brain probably won’t be able to take too much of a rest as you dodge the traffic, but a walk is enough to stop that sinking thinking.

PS. If you do it on a regular basis, you’ll bump up those vitamin D levels too, which will get you in a laughing mood since vitamin D moonlights as a comedian

Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression. Journal of Affective Disorders (2012) Marc G. Berman, Ethan Kross, Katherine M. Krpan, Mary K. Askren, Aleah Burson, Patricia J. Deldin, Stephen Kaplan, Lindsey Sherdell, Ian H. Gotlib, John Jonides.

To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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  1. [...] Parking off is a pick me up for brain’s that are feeling blue [...]

  2. By » Blog Archive » Round up 9 July – 13 July on July 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    [...] Parking off is a pick me up for brain’s that are feeling blue [...]

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