Commute wearing you out? Try looking at this

The secret to a calmer trip to work could be hidden in plain sight.

With an unfortunate abundance of traffic jams and train delays, getting to and from work can sometimes be a job in itself — and a stressful one at that. But your surroundings might just hold the solution you've been looking for.


Science backs this up: A recent study from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) shows that commuting through stretches of nature everyday can work wonders for your well-being.

But just how much of an impact could this have on your morning or evening travel? It's helpful to note that almost 3,600 people from cities in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, and Lithuania weighed in on their commuting experiences using questionnaires. The researchers eventually found that the mental health score of people traveling through nature on their daily commute was 2.74 points higher, on average, than those who did so less often.

And the people who took part in "active commuting," such as "walking or cycling," did even better in this department.

Wilma Zijlema, an ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study, commented on it in a statement, looping in even more context for readers:

"From previous experimental studies we knew that physical activity in natural environments can reduce stress, improve mood, and mental restoration when compared to the equivalent activity in urban environments. Although this study is the first of its kind to our knowledge and, therefore, more research will be needed, our data show that commuting through these natural spaces alone may also have a positive effect on mental health," the researcher said.

The spaces that apply to this research are probably the ones you're already thinking of: environments featuring blue and/or green natural resources, like trees, parks, and bodies of water.

People commuting through nature every day were also "likely to be active commuters."

Chances are, working a little more outside activity into your daily commute could be beneficial in more ways than one. But even if you can't, taking a nice, long look outside your window will help your mental well-being, too.

Reprinted with permission of Thrive Global. Read the original article.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

Videos
  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less

Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

Flickr user Tom Simpson
Sex & Relationships
  • Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
  • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
  • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less