A walk in the woods, or in nature in general, can ease negative thoughts, according to a new study conducted by Gregory Bratman of Stanford University.

The first group of subjects were asked to take a 90 minute walk in the green areas of Stanford, and a second in the busiest street of Palo Alto.

The subjects were all asked to fill out a questionnaire before and after the walk to determine the changes in negative thoughts. 

Those who walked in nature had less negative thoughts, or rumination, than those who spent their walk in the city.

Brain scans performed on the subjects before and after also revealed that those who walked in nature had less activity in the part of the brain associated with mental illness than those who didn't.

Urban dwelling has been increasingly linked to mental illness, with varying opinions as to why. In the United States, about 50% of people now living cities, and that number is expected to climb to 70% by 2050.

Cover image: Wikimedia Commons