Preventing mental illness in Dubai? Take a walk in Safa Park!

Sometimes we need science to tell us the obvious or to makes us aware of things we already knew but somehow forgot. What’s written in this article will be not really new to you. But if it makes you take a walk in Safa Park (or any other park) and thus makes you feel better, it served its purpose.

Most of us (especially our readers in UAE) will agree that modern live is rather a hectic urban life than a relaxing nature life.

Probably you would also agree that it is more relaxing to talk a walk in Safa Park than walking next to sheik Ziyad road.

Now scientists at Stanford University published a new study telling us exactly this and a bit more. The study showed that a 90-min walk through a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination. Rumination describes “repetitive thoughts focused on negative aspects of the self”. Rumination is a “known risk factor for mental illness”. The scientists went even a step further. They found out how the nature walk changes the neural activity in the brain. The walk reduced neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC), an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness.

“These results suggest that accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world”

The study didn’t investigate if a walk at the beach has the same effect. In case it’s too hot for the park, we would suggest you give it a try…;)