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By American Counseling Association
Special to Valley News 

Put nature to work fighting stress


Last updated 2/21/2020 at 3:03pm

Yes, people live in a pretty stressful world these days. Whether it’s international events, job pressures or personal problems, most people are touched by plenty of stress-producing situations every day.

Though they may not be aware of the ways stress is affecting them, it can actually harm people. Experts said that stressful environments can be a direct cause of anxiety and depression in people’s lives. Studies have found that excessive stress may be at least partly responsible for headaches, drinking problems and a variety of serious health issues.

So how can a person better manage the stress in their life? While it may not be possible in today’s hectic world to live a stress-free existence, there ways to minimize the stress they may be feeling and to escape from it for at least a little bit. Researchers said that even small escapes from stress can offer real benefits.

Distractions are one way to reduce stress. Studies have found that adding a little nature to a person’s life can be quite stress-reducing. Researchers said that people working in an office with no windows or just a view of a blank wall reported that the work environment became more pleasant and less stressful when they were able to look out and see trees and sky. Something as simple as adding a potted plant or two to the area where they spent most of their day can also play a part in giving them a positive distraction that can reduce stress.

Even better is when a person can escape from their normal environment, if only for a short time. And by “escape” nothing more is necessary than taking a simple walk. People can stop thinking about stressful things with just a short lunchtime stroll through a nearby park or down a tree-lined street. Time with nature is an opportunity to not focus on the things contributing to a hectic, stressful life. Listen to the quiet of nature, admire some budding flowers or just smile at the squirrels scampering about – all things to take the focus off what is causing the stress.

A little time outdoors is an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty around them and take a breather from the problems disturbing them. A short walk won’t remove all the stress in a person’s life, but it can give their mind a chance to relax and refocus, and that’s a positive thing.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to [email protected] or visit


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