New research shows nature can help those suffering from PTSD

The great outdoors can make an impact on those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to recent research from UC Berkeley psychologists. The studies tracked psychological and physiological changes in military veterans’ and at-risk inner-city youths’ stress hormones and markers of immune function before and after white-water rafting trips. The findings, published in the journal Emotion, show that awe – not joy, pride, amusement or contentment – is the feeling that best boost’s one’s mood. “It’s the active ingredient that explains why being in nature is good for us,” said Craig Anderson, lead author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and UCSF. “The more awe people felt during the white-water rafting trips, the happier and less stressed they were a week later.” Indeed, a week after white-water rafting, participants in the study reported, on average, a 29 percent decrease in PTSD…

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