When did you last visit your favorite place to reduce stress?

Dani Pärnänen, September 20, 2018

People really have good reasons to visit their favorite places on their way to lunch or after a taxing day at work. They may be enjoying the benefits of environments that help them to relax, reduce stress, and boost their emotional well-being. Do you need to clear your thoughts, boost your mood, forget worries, get your focus back, or simply relax? Consider visiting your nearest restorative place. But which environments or places count as a "restorative"?

A multitude of benefits from relaxing in your favourite spot

Our surroundings can promote recovery from stress and fatigue. Environments that have a “restorative” quality have been shown to have significant positive outcomes.

According to research, greenspaces, water elements and other natural outdoor environments may be most efficient in helping in recovery. Still, the most important thing is to find any type of place that helps you to relax.

The effects of restorative environments are physically measurable. You may get such benefits as lowered blood pressure and heart rate and reduced muscle tension. In addition to physical benefits, you may feel less negative feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety and fatigue, and more positive emotions, energy and tranquility.

After you visit a restorative place, you may also find that your ability to concentrate to your work has increased and your focus sharpened. So next time you have trouble concentrating or coping with a stressful situation, why not visit the nearest spot that helps you to relax?

The type of environment might not matter that much

In a study published in Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2018, a group of researchers examined how different types of environments help people to recover from stress and fatigue. The study compared indoor, built outdoor, and natural outdoor settings.

It seems that all three types of environments promote emotional well-being. Surprisingly, natural settings were not even superior for all aspects of restoration.

So don’t worry if the nearest national park or nature reserve is too far away or difficult to get to. The key is to find the places that help you relax and detach from stressful situations regardless of the type of the environment.

What is your restorative environment?

You may benefit from changing scenery or visiting your favourite spot to relax for a bit. The takeaway for all the busy workers out there is that it is good to have such places to visit, perhaps even during a busy work day.

Taking a break at your desk is never a good idea. Taking a five minute walk to get to your nearest “restorative environment” can help you to get to a more positive state of mind, and ultimately help you to focus and get things done with less stress. 

Think of places that have positively affected you when you have visited them

  • Has some place made you feel calmer or relaxed after visiting?

  • Is there a place that has energized you or given your enthusiasm a boost?

  • Have you felt more alert and concentrated after spending time at some place?

  • Is there a place that helps you to forget everyday worries, clear your mind, or clarify your thoughts?

Make a mental note of these kinds of places so that next time you feel you need to relax or re-focus, you remember those places.

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