Feeling Like A Loser? Go Outside For 5 Minutes

Researchers from the Univerisity of Essex have found that as little as 5 minutes outside can improve your self esteem and mood, say Reuters.

The study looked at 1,252 people across all ages and um, ranges of mental health, and concluded that 5 minutes in a park was beneficial.

They found that the greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally ill, although people of all ages and social groups benefited. The largest positive effect on self-esteem came from a five-minute dose of “green exercise.”

The most positive effect came from green areas with water, but any park or grassy, green area will do… so if you’ve got one of those handy, walk around out there for 5 minutes, then come back an tell us if it worked.

Five minutes in the green can boost self esteem [Reuters]

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  1. BenChatt says:

    Absolutely agree. This is why it has been absolutely worth it to landscape our backyard. Nothing fancy, just a lot of grass.

  2. MovingTarget says:

    When I need to blow off steam, get rid of the stress, I just fire up the lawnmower and do the front and back 40 and I’m good to go another day :)

  3. Vanilla5 says:

    Soak up some sunshine…

  4. Kishi says:

    A green, grassy area? Well, shit, I live in Phoenix. We don’t have those here.

    • dohtem says:

      Heh, enjoy that cactus and red earth. :)

      (and boycott)

      • Kishi says:

        Yeah, I’m always thrilled when I’m facing being punished for politics I disagree with, compounded by a political “debate” boiled down to two over-simplified viewpoints, neither of which actually discuss or accurately reflect the topic at hand.

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      Take up golf! Plenty of that in Phx!

      • Kishi says:

        I live in the northwest valley- all our golf courses out here are all full of retirees.

  5. qwickone says:

    I go for a walk (just 1 mile, it only takes 20 min) almost every day around 2-3P, just when I’m starting to feel like I’m losing my mind at work. When I come back, I’m usually really efficient for the rest of the day and in a better mood. Plus I feel good just moving around a little more during the day.

    • dohtem says:

      I do the same. There is a huge park 5 mins from my office. Walking around for 10 minutes or so really refreshes me. Especially when that 2pm lunch crash kicks in.

  6. dulcinea47 says:

    I think it’s not just the “green” factor that makes people feel better- the sun (which you get vitamin D from) and just the fact of moving around, especially if you have a desk job, make a huge difference. I often take a short walk during a work break b/c I feel like I go into “desk coma” if I don’t.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yep. Desk coma, after lunch coma, repetition coma. Lots of possibilities.

    • tbax929 says:

      My new office has a balcony and a view of the Catalina mountains (in Tucson). It’s breathtaking. Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s the reason why, but I’m much happier than I was in a windowless cubicle. I often open the sliding door to let some fresh air in or just go out on the balcony for a few minutes when I’m at work.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I’m stealing “desk coma”. SO accurate.

  7. DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

    But I don’t wanna… it’s raining outside, and I’m still recovering from the poison ivy I got from my last yardwork experience. Green is scary now!

  8. TheMonkeyKing says:

    There are some days when they just won’t unstrap me and let me out…

    But they do feed me lemon jello and it’s the best!

  9. dreamfish says:

    One thing to remember, especially if you work in an office in a city and go outside during lunchtime, is to try to take different routes and go to different places, even if they aren’t green. Visiting the same patch of grass every single day can become dispiriting.

  10. ExVee says:

    Obviously none of these people live in the lands of shirtless rednecks and large, free-range dogs.

    (also during times of year when the temperature hovers about 100 with a relative humidity in similar numbers is not exactly an uplifting experience.)

  11. swarrior216 says:

    I step outside and its like stepping into a huge oven. That’s Florida for ya. But it’s defiantly worth it tho.

  12. aloria says:

    I have treatment resistant depression, meaning regular therapy and medication do little for me. Even in my case, getting outside and getting a bit of fresh air when I feel an episode of sadness coming on certainly helps. It certainly won’t turn me completely around, but I find it does somewhat delay the onset or lessen the severity. It helps to have the dogs around– seeing them excited makes it a lot harder to be grumpy. Just being under open sky, even in cold or cloudy weather causes a significant change in my thinking.

    When I’m not depressed, getting outside for 5 minutes once a day to clear my head makes focusing on my work/home projects a lot easier.

    • ellemdee says:

      Dogs are awesome. No matter how bad I feel, coming home to a happy little dog can’t help but cheer me up.

  13. Dustbunny says:

    There are BUGS outside! Bugs bad. Indoors good.

  14. Taliskan says:

    I went outside and it started raining. Now I just feel more depressed. Thanks University of Essex.

  15. nbs2 says:

    Does it really count if the green area is smothered by tourists? The only green near me is the Mall, where I dream of making all the tourists go away.

    And when you leave, take your garbage with you. Without good weekend trash service, the Capitol Reflecting Pool area smells like a dump on warm Monday mornings.

  16. madanthony says:

    going outside just makes me feel worse, because it’s always full of happy couples and cute girls who I know would never talk to me.

    • aloria says:

      Is it just me, or do you also run into the highest concentrations of PDA when you’re bummed out about relationship stuff?

  17. ajlei says:

    It’s overcast (was hailing earlier) and 50F out right now. I don’t wanna go outside.

  18. ellemdee says:

    …unless you have allergies, in which case being outside can trigger days of migraines and/or sinus headaches.

  19. tbax929 says:

    While I agree with the article, my favorite days are actually the ones in which I don’t have to leave the house at all. But those are so few and far between that they’re a treat.

  20. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    The most positive effect came from green areas with water…

    There is something nice about a breeze coming off of a lake or river (assuming it’s not smelly).

  21. longtimegeek says:

    Where I work, there is a park with a lake (it would be a pond in the east but in the west it qualifies as a lake) which is almost exactly a 1 round trip door to door looping the lake. It is a real head clearer and probably 30% of the people in the building do it daily. It must be doing something for us.