Forest bathing diminishes anxiety in undergraduate students: a pilot study in the Valdivian temperate rainforest

Langer, Alvaro I.; Solano, Esteban; Bacigalupe, Leonardo D. D.; Soto, Betsabe; Asenjo, Angie; Cifuentes, Ariel; Navarrete, Ibeth; Vergara, Rodrigo C. C.; Steinebach, Christoph


Urban life has generally resulted in lifestyles characterised by high stress and anxiety, all which has increased the pervasiveness of mental disorders. University students, a group highly vulnerable to these problems, are likely to develop mental pathologies associated with anxiety and substance abuse. Forest bathing is one nature-oriented intervention aimed at improving physical as well as psychological well-being by reducing anxious symptomatology and stress. Here we evaluated the healing impact of forest bathing on the stress and anxiety of undergraduate students at one local university. We also included others key aspects of psychological mental health that have received scarce attention in forest bathing research like mindfulness, wellbeing and self-regulated learning. Twenty-one students belonging to the Universidad Austral de Chile were randomly assigned to the city or forest groups and took part in an intervention consisting in a low-impact 30 minute walk and a 15-minute contemplation afterwards. Five instruments to evaluate overall mental health (and blood pressure) were applied before and after the intervention. Our results showed that a rather short session of forest bathing is enough to reduce anxiety in undergraduate university students. The other measures of psychological or physiological health showed no statistical differences before and after the intervention (between city and forest) or time effects (within the forest or city treatment). A potential reason for this might be related to the short duration of the intervention itself. Our results are encouraging regarding mental health therapy, as this type of intervention could easily be implemented on campus.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:001026727100001 Not found in local WOS DB
Volumen: 28
Número: 6
Fecha de publicación: 2023
Página de inicio: 463
Página final: 467


Notas: ISI