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Spend time in nature to reduce work stress and improve mental health

Work stress is real, but there are ways to manage it. A new study has found that taking a stroll in nature may help reduce work-related stress.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : January 13, 2021 6:51 PM IST

Work can be stressful! While work from home forced most us to live a sedentary lifestyle, work from office suddenly seems too much to handle. Whether from home or your office desk, work can be difficult to cope with anywhere. Figuring out ways to manage anxiety at work can be particularly tough. And leaving work stress at the office door is easier said than done. But there are methods available to combat stress that you can turn to before things start to go from bad to worse.

Work Stress Can Damage Your Health

Before we get to how you can manage work stress, it is important to know that the daily grind can have a detrimental effect on your health. Studies have shown that high-pressure workdays, long commutes accompanied by lack of sleep and making ends meet can take a toll on your mental health. Stress can promote lung diseases, depression, high blood pressure, heart diseases, obesity, weaken the immune system and diabetes.

Even remote working during COVID-19, accompanied by social isolation and loneliness also created an issue for people. Most people who were working from home experienced stress, anxiety and depression. Lack of movement and isolation also contribute to the chronic musculoskeletal pain and mental health issues. But there are some ways that can effectively help enhance one's well-being.

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Taking A Walk In Nature Can Help

Ever wondered why you feel at ease when you look at the serene nature? Why do you feel refreshed every time you take a trip? For starters, studies have shown that walking in nature can boost your mood and relieve stress. To add to this, a new study published in the journal Public Health suggested that taking a stroll in nature can help you in improving your mental health and managing stress.

According to the Japanese study, people with a strong sense of coherence have greater resilience to stress. Researchers found that taking a walk at least once a week in a forest or green space can help to improve mental health and manage stress.

For the study, the team used survey data on more than 6,000 workers between 20 and 60 years old. The researchers divided the survey respondents into four groups based on their frequency of forest/green spacewalking. They compared their walking activity against attributes such as age, income and marital status, and with the respondents' SOC scores, which were grouped as a week, middle and strong.

They found that people who take regular walks in forests or green spaces have a stronger sense of coherence (SOC). It comprises the triad of meaningfulness, which includes the sense of meaning in life, recognizing and understanding stress, and manageability. The key findings implied that walking in the forest and green spacewalking at once a week can be beneficial to those who are stressed out.

(with inputs from IANS)

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