Feeling stressed? Try mowing the lawn, suggests the Daily Telegraph. A team of neuroscientists from the university of Queensland, Brisbane, has discovered that chemicals released by cut grass have a soothing effect on the brain. After one of his neighbours remarked on the wonderful smell of freshly cut grass, research leader Dr Nick Lavidis had the idea of developing a scent that incorporated some of the chemicals from grass. When tested the smell has been proven to regulate key emotional areas of the brain such as the hippocampus and amygdala. “These are responsible for the fight or flight responses and the endocrine system, which controls the releasing of stress hormones like corticosteroids,” Lavidis says.
Although the scent has been proven to work, one must beware of easy substitutes for the real thing. If the scent itself works, then it will be even more beneficial to actually get outside and mow the lawn, as this also includes the stress reducing effects of exercise, being outdoors and in the fresh air, as well as doing a task that has the satisfaction of an easily achievable result. As part of our personal training service we encourage clients to increase daily activity as much as possible and to get outdoors, not only for the benefits of increased calorific burn and weight loss, but also as it helps feelings of mental well-being and satisfaction. So don’t watch a programme about nature, go outdoors and experience it first hand! Watching an exercise video might make you feel good, but actually doing the exercise will have a real benefit.