The cure for a bad mood might be as easy as going outside.
Researchers from the University of Regina recently found that spending just five minutes in nature is long enough to help turn someone’s mood around. It recently published its findings in the Journal of Positive Psychology.
Across the board, the researchers found that taking a step away and resting for a few minutes can help make a negative situation easier to handle. The biggest benefits; however, come when you spend those few minutes outside.
A single morning commute is enough time to gather a thousand seething resentments. People shove you, they litter, they smoke while blocking the footpath. By the time you show up at the office, you might be in full Rorschach-from-Watchmen mode. Instead, fill yourself with the cleansing fire of a kind act.
The researchers conducted two separate tests where participants were asked to either sit in a room or in the outdoors for different periods of time, all without electronic devices to keep them occupied.
While negative emotions were lowered in both situations after just a few minutes, being out in nature tended to actually inspire positive emotions.
“There are two important take homes; the first I emphasise to all my students these days — when you need an emotional boost, the fastest and easiest way is to spend a few minutes with nature,” Katherine D. Arbuthnott, one of the authors of the study told PsyPost. Her second take away from the study is that it’s important for outdoor spaces to be maintained for the emotional health and wellbeing of the public as a whole.
The research isn’t exactly earth-shattering. We all know we need breaks, and it stands to reason that doing that outside where you’re presumably looking at something pretty and getting some fresh air would be better than sitting at your desk. That said, how many of us actually do walk outside when we’re in a bad mood? Right.
By in large, taking a break when you’re having trouble with something is always a good idea Getting a little space, even if it’s five minutes, can often allow you to return to an issue with a fresh perspective and a renewed energy to address the problem.
Instead of spending that break surfing Facebook, consider stepping outside for a few minutes next time. You might come back a lot happier.