how living near the woods affects health

Photo: Remains/Thinkstock

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You live: Somewhere with trees galore

What the research says: You may be less stressed than the rest of us—if you're taking advantage of your surroundings. Japanese researchers found that practicing shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing (essentially, strolling around a forest for a bit or sitting and soaking in that nature) led to lower cortisol levels and lower blood pressure, and greater activity in the body's calming parasympathetic nervous system. A slightly longer trip to the woods could even strengthen your immune system, as a study in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine reported that people who spent 3 days and 2 nights in the forest had increased activity among their natural killer cells, which may help fight infections.