With the weather improving, it may be easier to spend more time outside.
While there are many options for mental health treatment, a recent study looked at whether being outside can benefit for mental health (1).
What was the study? (1)
- Ibes and Forestell (1) studied 234 undergraduate students.
- Participants engaged in 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation or a control task, either in a campus park-like setting or in a quiet room indoors.
- Before and after the activity, total mood disturbance (TMD) was assessed with the Profile of Mood States Questionnaire.
What were the results? (1)
- In this study, they found (1) that when participants sat for 20 minutes in a greenspace located in a central campus location, they experienced a significant reduction in mood disturbance relative to those who sat inside.
- Participants were near car traffic, foot traffic, and campus activities.
- During the study, temperature ranged (i.e., from the mid-40s to upper 80 s, in degrees Fahrenheit) for outdoor participants.
- A significant reduction in mood disturbance was noted regardless of whether they engaged in meditation or the control activity (sitting).
- Students can consider other activities outside if appropriate (e.g., studying, socializing, eating, playing, etc)
- Some students may not be able to spend time outside because of location, or weather limitations.
- This link discusses campus resources for being outside.
- Other leisure activities can also benefit mental health.
By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.
- Dorothy C. Ibes & Catherine A. Forestell (2022) The role of campus greenspace and meditation on college students’ mood disturbance, Journal of American College Health, 70:1, 99-106, DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1726926