01 November 2010

Take a break - it's good for you

Colchester Campus

Scientists at the University are embarking on a new project to build on their existing research into the benefits of enjoying the great outdoors.

Research at Essex has already uncovered how just a small ‘dose of nature’ can affect people’s mental well-being. Now, thanks to a £90,000 grant from the British Heart Foundation, a team will investigate the link between taking a break in natural green spaces and combating work stress.

Whilst it is widely accepted that taking a break at work is important, there is little scientific evidence to back up this claim. What the three-year project at Essex will do is to look at whether taking time out from the office in a natural green space can help reduce stress.

With there already being a strong link between stress and cardio-vascular disease – which in extreme cases can cause a heart attack – this research’s findings will be of interest to workers and health professionals alike.

“We want the scientific evidence to back-up the link to nature and reduction in stress levels,” explained the leader of the project Dr Valerie Gladwell, from the Department of Biological Sciences. “The study will help to explore and try to understand what happens in our body in terms of both physiological and biochemical changes in the body in response to stress and whether this can be altered by something as simple as viewing nature.”


Note to Editors
For more information please contact the University Communications Office on 01206 872400 or e-mail comms@essex.ac.uk.

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