There’s a plethora of ways employees and employers alike can cope with work-related stress. There’s chewing gum, supplements, stress-relieving foods, breathing exercises and stress management strategies. The latest option? It’s a walk in the park. No literally — a new study has shown that reducing work stress could be as simple as taking a walk in your local park.
Published in the journal Public Health in Practice, the study found that people with a strong sense of coherence (SOC) have greater resilience to stress. If it sounds like ‘sense of coherence’ is a made-up phrase – it’s not. It’s a triad, comprised of meaningfulness, comprehensibility, and manageability.
In terms of stress, that means finding a sense of meaning in life, recognising and understanding stress, and feeling equipped to deal with stress. Or as the researcher of the study, Professor Shinichiro Sasahara at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, said, “SOC indicates mental capacities for realising and dealing with stress.”
So how does all this relate to strolls through the park?
Well, survey data was used on over 6,000 participants between the ages of 20 and 60. Researchers found that people who regularly took walks in forests or green spaces have a stronger sense of coherence.
Sasahara said, “Our study suggests that taking a walk at least once a week in a forest or green space can help people have stronger SOC.”
One benefit of this is that walking through a park, forest or green space is pretty easy to do, and doesn’t require additional equipment or any special training.
Or as Sasahara said, “With workplace stress as a focal issue, there’s a clear benefit in identifying everyday activities that raise SOC. It seems we may have found one.”
If you want to take it further than just a simple walk and try out a whole wilderness resort for extra greenery…we won’t stop you.