Time outdoors may help relieve symptoms of depression and ADHD, as well as help stabilize OCD and Bipolar Disorder, it can bring some relief to other disorders as well.
Green Therapy: Natural Therapy for Depression, and for ADHD
All green links on this page are off-site links from sponsors and funds are used to support the non-profit activities of the AYCNP
Regular exercise and outdoor activities, unstructured "green time," have been found to help
as well. Psychology Today reported in its March/April 2004 issue that children with ADHD who schedule regular time for outdoor activities such as walking in the park or hiking, exhibit less of the symptoms associated with ADHD.
Similarly, a recent study found that more than 70% of those (adults) who took time for this type of "green therapy" felt less depressed than those who did not. On the other hand, those who spent an equal amount of time at a shopping mall, felt more tense and depressed afterwards.
71 per cent reported decreased levels of depression after the green walk
22 per cent felt their depression increased after walking through an indoor shopping centre and only 45 per cent experienced a decrease in depression
71 per cent said they felt less tense after the green walk
50 per cent said their feelings of tension had increased after the shopping centre walk
90 per cent had increased self-esteem after the country walk
44 per cent said their self-esteem decreased after window shopping in the shopping centre.
Above statistics on benefits of green therapy from: Go Green to Beat the Blues
(May 13, 2007). Mind
Green Therapy is an Effective Natural Treatment for ADHD
Green Therapy: Natural self-help therapy for depression, and for ADHD
Richard Louv's recent book on Nature Deficit Disorder, similarly documents the beneficial effects of "green therapy" for children with symptoms of ADHD and related mental health disorders.
A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
: Evidence From a National Study, (September 2004) Frances E. Kuo, PhD and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD. American Journal of Public Health.
Frances E. Kuo is with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Andrea Faber Taylor is with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Kuo and Taylor studied the affect of "green" or natural settings on symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms across diverse subpopulations of children.
Parents nationwide rated the aftereffects of 49 common after-school and weekend activities on children’s symptoms. Aftereffects were compared for activities conducted in green outdoor settings versus those conducted in both built outdoor and indoor settings.
In this national, nonprobability sample, green outdoor activities reduced symptoms significantly more than did activities conducted in other settings, even when activities were matched across settings. Findings were consistent across age, gender, and income groups; community types; geographic regions; and diagnoses.
Kuo and Taylor concluded that green outdoor settings "appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children across a wide range of individual, residential, and case characteristics."
Exercise Alone - As or More Effective than Antidepressants
for Mild to Moderate Depression
Exercise alone is reported to be as or more effective than antidepressants, and surprisingly may be more effective than antidepressant use combined with exercise, concluded a study on exercise and depression by Duke University.
Exercise alone is more effective for mild to moderate depression than drug treatment or drug treatment combined with exercise, in terms of initial outcome and long-term efficaciousness and recurrence rate.
In another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999, 156 men and women with depression were divided into three groups. One group took part in an aerobic exercise program, another took the SSRI sertraline (Zoloft), and a third did both.
At the 16-week interval, depression had eased in all three groups. About 60% to 70% of the people in all three groups could no longer be classified as having major depression. In fact, group scores on two rating scales of depression were essentially the same. This suggests that for those who need or wish to avoid drugs, exercise might be an acceptable substitute for antidepressants. Keep in mind, though, that it can be difficult to stay motivated to exercise when you're depressed.
A follow-up to that study found the positive benefits of exercise effects lasted longer than the benefits of antidepressants. Researchers checked in with 133 of the original patients six months after the first study ended. They found that the people who exercised regularly after completing the study, regardless of which treatment they were originally on, were less likely to relapse into depression.
A study published in 2005 found that walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms. Walking fast for only 15 minutes a day five times a week or doing stretching exercises three times a week did not help as much. Exercise and Depression
(off-site link) - Harvard Mental Health Letter.
References for Green Therapy page:
1. A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
: Evidence From a National Study, (September 2004) Frances E. Kuo, PhD and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD
American Journal of Public Health. 1580-1586 Vol 94, No. 9
2. Exercise and Depression. (Retrieved August 3, 2009). Harvard Mental Health Letter. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Exercise-and-Depression-report-excerpt.htm
3. It's Easier Seeing Green ADHD curbed when kids play outdoors. (2004, March/April). Psychology Today. p. 26,27.
4. Mind Launches Green agenda for Mental Health. Ecotherapy vs. retail therapy.
(2007). Heliq.com. From Heliq database: http://www.huliq.com/21526/mind-launches-new-green-agenda-for-mental-health
5. Louv, R. (2005).
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.
Planet Earth, BBC Video.
One of the best nature videos ever made.
Our choices in films can have a profound impact on our mental health. Films which are overly stimulating or violent (action violence included), can contribute to a weakened mental state which may contribute, along with other factors, to various mental health disorders. By contrast, films which are peaceful, positive, beautiful, inspiring, can help to foster a positive mental state and self-view, contributing to mental healing.
The Organic Food Shopper's Guide Jeff Cox
Readers will find concrete advice in this basic primer: the science of organic farming is followed by a product-by-product guide to organically farmed foods that can be found in the market. Organized by food group (vegetables, fruits, protein, etc.), each food is broken down by season—how to shop for it, the reason to buy the organic version, and a simple recipe or two that showcases the strength of the main ingredient.
Depression-free for Life: A Physician's All-Natural, 5-Step Plan Gabriel Cousens, Mark Mayell
Not all depressions are alike. And despite the attention given to Prozac and other drugs, there quite literally is no magic pill. Instead, writes Dr. Gabriel Cousens, someone who suffers from depression needs a customized, individual program, one that attacks the personal, biochemical roots of the problem.
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