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      Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation.

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          Abstract

          Urbanization has many benefits, but it also is associated with increased levels of mental illness, including depression. It has been suggested that decreased nature experience may help to explain the link between urbanization and mental illness. This suggestion is supported by a growing body of correlational and experimental evidence, which raises a further question: what mechanism(s) link decreased nature experience to the development of mental illness? One such mechanism might be the impact of nature exposure on rumination, a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses. We show in healthy participants that a brief nature experience, a 90-min walk in a natural setting, decreases both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC), whereas a 90-min walk in an urban setting has no such effects on self-reported rumination or neural activity. In other studies, the sgPFC has been associated with a self-focused behavioral withdrawal linked to rumination in both depressed and healthy individuals. This study reveals a pathway by which nature experience may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Responses to depression and their effects on the duration of depressive episodes.

          I propose that the ways people respond to their own symptoms of depression influence the duration of these symptoms. People who engage in ruminative responses to depression, focusing on their symptoms and the possible causes and consequences of their symptoms, will show longer depressions than people who take action to distract themselves from their symptoms. Ruminative responses prolong depression because they allow the depressed mood to negatively bias thinking and interfere with instrumental behavior and problem-solving. Laboratory and field studies directly testing this theory have supported its predictions. I discuss how response styles can explain the greater likelihood of depression in women than men. Then I intergrate this response styles theory with studies of coping with discrete events. The response styles theory is compared to other theories of the duration of depression. Finally, I suggest what may help a depressed person to stop engaging in ruminative responses and how response styles for depression may develop.
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            Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review

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              Private self-consciousness and the five-factor model of personality: distinguishing rumination from reflection.

              A distinction between ruminative and reflective types of private self-attentiveness is introduced and evaluated with respect to L. R. Goldberg's (1982) list of 1,710 English trait adjectives (Study 1), the five-factor model of personality (FFM) and A. Fenigstein, M. F. Scheier, and A. Buss's (1975) Self-Consciousness Scales (Study 2), and previously reported correlates and effects of private self-consciousness (PrSC; Studies 3 and 4). Results suggest that the PrSC scale confounds two unrelated, motivationally distinct dispositions--rumination and reflection--and that this confounding may account for the "self-absorption paradox" implicit in PrSC research findings: Higher PrSC scores are associated with more accurate and extensive self-knowledge yet higher levels of psychological distress. The potential of the FFM to provide a comprehensive framework for conceptualizing self-attentive dispositions, and to order and integrate research findings within this domain, is discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
                1091-6490
                0027-8424
                Jul 14 2015
                : 112
                : 28
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; gbratman@stanford.edu gdaily@stanford.edu.
                [2 ] Laureate Institute for Brain Research, School of Community Medicine, Tulsa, OK 74136;
                [3 ] Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305;
                [4 ] Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, and Woods Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm 114 18, Sweden gbratman@stanford.edu gdaily@stanford.edu.
                Article
                1510459112
                10.1073/pnas.1510459112
                26124129

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