by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Urban living gives you brain fatigue. It flat out makes your brain tired from constantly having to be alert and aware. A walk in the park can go a long way to clear up the resulting fuzziness, say the study. Not that we did not know that already.
Pedestrians in cities and towns have their energy drained because they have to remain vigilant of all the madness that is around them, being forced to use directed mental attention – a limited resource – to get from one block to the next without being run over by something with two legs or four wheels. In contrast, the environs of a park, unless there is a stroller festival afoot, can put you into a state of soft fascination, which releases the tension, It is better still in a wood or forest. By being in a green space, that ever-so-scarce resource of directed attention is able to renew itself. That also, by the wqay, applies to gardening.
A new study from Scotland helps to prove this. Apparently researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh used portable EEGs to monitor the brain activity of twelve healthy young adults. Different participants walked through different areas of Edinburgh: one was an historic shopping district, one was a park-like setting, and one was a busy commercial district.
I am sure we can all guess correctly which of the walkers were the least stressed and frustrated, namely those in the park. While this is a small study, it still helps to underscore what we already intuitively know. We relax in quiet, natural settings much more than we do (or ever could) in urban settings.
Don't get me wrong, but it always surprised me that they have to conduct a scientific study to “discover” the things that we already know, and have known, for ages.
I must say I am rather surprised that there has not been a press release that stated that this study has made this phenomenal discovery like then the government announced that they had discovered that waste would can be burned or that inland waterways and canals can be used for the transportation of freight – through rather expensive studies.
It is for that very reason that the British government, almost two centuries ago, in the Public Health Act, made public parks and open spaces a statutory requirement. And yes dear folks from the LGA parks and open spaces are statutory requirements.