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ULV students find stress relief in the outdoors

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Priscilla Applebee
Staff Writer

An informal survey at the University of La Verne found that 14 out of 15 students enjoy spending time in parks and green space.

ULV students commented on the effects green spaces have towards peaceful mindsets.

“I enjoy parks and being outdoors because it’s like an escape from the cities,” freshman kinesiology major Paul Antonis said.

Recent studies have shown that engaging with nature has positive, long-lasting effects the mind.

One such study from Denmark’s University of Aarhus published in 2019, found green spaces fight mood disorders, depression and stress.

Green spaces also support social interactions and help decrease according to research in Neal Krause and Benjamin Shaw’s book “Giving Social Support to Others: Socioeconomic Status and Changes in Self-Esteem in Late Life.”

Exercise also comes naturally in a green space and can help the brain’s cognitive capacity as one gets older, according to a study by Stanley Colcombe and Arthur F. Kramer titled “Fitness Effects on the Cognitive Function of Older Adults: A Meta-Analytic Study.”

“I find green spaces like parks so peaceful,” said freshman business administration major Erika Ochoa. “I really love playing softball when I’m there.”

Taking long trips in areas filled with natural beauties can also improve mental health and reduce stress levels.

Studies show that city living can actually increase psychiatric disorders and higher stress levels, according to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States research published in 2019.

Despite all of this data, the soothing effects of nature may not apply to everyone.

“I don’t go to parks that much,” said junior business administration Aaron Zamora.“It’s not really my setting.”

However, experts still recommend spending some time outdoors in order to receive the nourishing and beneficial effects of nature.

An experiment in 2008 headed by Peter H. Kahn Jr., professor of psychology, at University of Washington, displayed green spaces on a television in enclosed spaces, like offices with no windows, and has proven not to be as beneficial as physically being in the green space.

For college students, simply taking walks, visiting local parks or having greenery in areas they spend most of their time in can increase a positive outlook. Having a greener environment has been shown to improve productivity, attentiveness, concentration and test scores based on an article by Carolyn Tennessen and Bernadine Cimprich titled, “Views to Nature: Effects on Attention.”

“I can’t tell you the last time I visited a park,” said senior communications major Daniel Salamanca, “but I do find it enjoyable.”

Priscilla Applebee can be reached at priscilla.applebee@laverne.edu.

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