"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

“Fear” walks affect more pleasure, less pain.

News briefs

Need just a little inspiration? The next time you are taking a walk outside, be aware of things that evoke feelings of wonder or awe. That's what some older adults did for a small study published online Sept. 21, 2020, by the journal Science. Emotions. Half of the 50 participants took a weekly 15-minute walk (alone) for eight weeks, and took “selfies” along the best way. The other half took the identical walks and selfies, but visited a recent place every time. They were asked, particularly, to notice things that evoke feelings of fear — resembling the colour of trees or leaves underfoot from rain. Participants also answered surveys concerning the emotions they felt throughout the days of the walk. After analyzing the responses and photos, the scientists found that those that took the “fear walk” reported less pain and feelings of fear, happiness, compassion and gratitude than those that took the same old walk. Awe walkers also smile more and make themselves smaller of their photos, focusing more on the scenery – an indication of a greater appreciation of the world around them. Try it yourself: On your next walk, imagine seeing things for the primary time. What will encourage you? Perhaps a tree-lined path, a lake shore, or a close-up take a look at skyscrapers. Write down your observations, and see if you happen to feel a way of wonder and joy. Happy trails!

Photo: © Igor Alexander/Getty Images