NATURE SOUNDS REDUCE STRESS

If you’re feeling stressed, try turning on some nature sounds.

A new study added some scientific enlightenment to the easily believed idea that nature sounds help people relax. Researchers played nature sounds and artificial sounds, in turn, for study participants while measuring brain activity with an MRI scanner and nervous system activity with a heart rate monitor.

The team found that when participants were listening to artificial sounds, their brains showed an inward-directed focus of attention–mirroring patterns seen for people experiencing anxiety, PTSD, and depression. With the natural sounds, they saw the opposite effect: Focus shifted outward. Furthermore, rest-digest nervous system activity increased with nature sounds, indicating relaxation of the body, and participants could better perform an attention monitoring task.

I put on some nature sounds while writing this blog, and I liked it! I found plenty of tracks through my music streaming service, but I checked and you can also download free smartphone apps that play nature sounds. I like that you can reap some of the benefits of being in nature without actually going outside!

You Might Also Enjoy...

YOUTH AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

Suicides among teens ages 15-19 are the highest they’ve been since 2000, says a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Here’s a snippet from an NBC analysis of the study: The new study found that in 2017, 6,241 teenagers and adult

HOW TO FALL ASLEEP QUICKLY

This is second in a two-part series about sleep. Click here to read part one. Last week I wrote about how poor sleep can negatively affect your mental health. If you’re thinking, “It’s not my fault, I just can’t fall asleep at night!” then try this metho

HOW POOR SLEEP AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

I can’t stress this enough: part of managing your mental health includes getting enough sleep. I’ve written about this here before: in my career I’ve seen how poor sleep can lead to suicidal thoughts, memory issues, even weight gain. According to an artic

SOME ADHD MEDS INCREASE RISK OF PSYCHOSIS

New evidence is emerging that some medications for ADHD put teens and young adults at risk for developing psychosis. According to this study of more than 200,000 people ages 13 to 25, one out of 660 people had an episode of psychosis in a few months afte

SUMMER BREAK WITH YOUR HIGH-NEEDS CHILD

As thrilled as kids are with summer break, it can be difficult on parents to muster the same enthusiasm. You’re all out of your routine and it can take time to get used to a new schedule, and get used to each other. If you have a child with developmental

THE NEED FOR MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT IN SCHOOLS

A recent report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) makes a case for more mental health professionals–including nurses and social workers–in schools. From the report: School counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists are frequently