Posted by: r.m. | January 14, 2011

Leave that Prozac. Go for a walk in the woods.

The science has confirmed what anecdotes, poets, thinkers, and naturalists have stated for centuries.

Important news particularly when more and more people are being persuaded to deal with their “depression” by taking anti-depressants. Leave the drugs alone. Go for a walk in the woods instead.

Thoreau Was Right: Nature Hones the Mind: Studies show nature restores our spirits, improves our thinking, keeps us healthier and probably even saner.



  1. But, isn’t too late for science to confirm that? This shows that even science uses nature to prove facts and theories, science has failed to acknowledge the simple facts about nature. In other words, science, especially in nowadays, has failed to bring the non-harmful discoveries to humans life. And, there are many reasons behind that (i.e: western paradigm, globalisation, economic selfishness, etc). Science has brought many illusions to humans. At the end, I hope that science will confirm that all the “anti-war “medicament, not only the anti-depressants, were useless at the first place.

  2. “science has failed to acknowledge the simple facts about nature”

    That’s quite a weird statement in my opinion! Science is actually the pursuit of truth by the usage of the scientific method. You hypothize, model, experiment, observe and then revise your hypothesis. Theories ‘stay’ true until disproved. Facts are discovered by science so there is no way that science can fail at that.

    “science, especially in nowadays, has failed to bring the non-harmful discoveries to humans life”

    Then who brought them? Revelation? Or trial and error?

    “Science has brought many illusions to humans.”

    Come on, that just not sensible! Part of the pursuit of science is to dispel myths and illusions.

    What’s the anti-war medicament?

  3. no one can ignore the role of science in improving the quality of life for the majority of humans.. it’s true that some humans suffer indirectly but if we look at the general picture we realize that we are in great dept for sciences. Moreover, even if it took scientist a long time to realize the important role of nature in our life we still have to appreciate their role in pointing out those important facts about nature which will help in appreciating more our natural surrounding.
    In fact, what is mentioned in the article is very true and a major concern for all of us. Nature has it’s charm on humans either by reducing our stress level or by distracting us from life’s problem or helping us in gaining a quick recovery from some illnesses or by improving our mental capacity. In deed, i consider myself as a participant in this scientifically proven fact since in every time i feel stressed i take a walk in the green fields next to my home and for a while i forget all my worries and problems, although i wont forget them for long but for sure it will help me relax and rest my brain in order to make more rational decisions later on.
    The best question now will be how to benefit more from nature’s relaxing and distressing potential in the time where humans are becoming more stressed and more aggressive to their natural world ?

    biol 207

  4. @ A Reader: anti-war medicaments are those medicaments that generate what is called “secondary effects”. Anti-war medicaments are those medicaments that generate war against diseases like antibiotics. In fact, medical treatment is one of the important factors that lead to death.
    I am not saying that science isn’t important, but it is becoming more complex to a point that it has forgotten how to make use of benign facts. I referred to the science that I am talking about as “the western science”.
    Chinese medicine and homeopathy are parts of science; parts of a good science.
    In your opinion, why these treatments didn’t fail to treat a certain disease?

  5. Actually, I do not even believe that homeopathy’s evidence for successful treatment is conclusive. So I can not answer your question as to “why homeopathy didn’t fail” because I disagree with the question proposal itself.

  6. @ A Reader: really, you are a good reader. Thank you for pointing at my weird and my unclear thinking. I am sure that I made you put an exclamation point (or something weird) about my opinion 🙂

    Dr Rania, thank you for making such a site for generating discussions despite the weird opinions that you may find in the site.

  7. I just meant that this particular point on this specific issue was a bit weird 🙂 So please don’t misunderstand me 🙂

  8. @ A Reader: No worries. I didn’t misunderstand you. Instead, I appreciate your discussion with me :-). I agree with you about my weird opnion :-). Maybe I wasn’t able to generate my thoughts in a clear way.
    Btw, I am glad that you find it weird; my weird opinion was able to attract a good smart reader like you :-).
    Plus, I think that I didn’t generate a clear good discussion about the following question: “Isn’t too late for science to confirm that?”
    Anyway, I feel that I lost in wonderland by posing such a question.
    By the way, I am a science student which had that weird point:-). Yes, imagine that!

  9. OK thanks for the clarification! BTW, I don’t think that science will confirm that what you call anti-war medicament are useless. Also, I am not really trying to pick on everything you say but on a second reading of your post I noticed that you said “In fact, medical treatment is one of the important factors that lead to death.” Come on! Are you REALLY serious about this??? Please tell me how did you get attracted to a science major? I sincerely wish you the best in your studies and I hope that you will one day become a shining star in your field but a budding scientist ought to be more attracted to science than what you just said 😉 I wish you the best.

  10. Well thank you. It seems that I attracted you to my mysterious thinking. I respect your opinion.
    Science was my favorite subject in school. I used to understand science subjects faster than litterature subjects.
    Beside science, I love to be a philosopher :-).
    Thank you again for your wish about me becoming a shining star. We’ll see about that.
    You my wonder how a student like me who is studying a scientific major at the university had that weird thought about science. You may wonder how a student who had that weird thought had an acceptance in a scientific major at the univeristy? :-). Well, is there any reason in that?
    Plus, about the anti war medicaments, I am somehow serious: these kind of medicaments lead to death due to the secondary effects that they generate.

  11. To not forget that this study was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

  12. Do you have a link for that article please? I am curious to know how the study was conducted and what were the circumstances?

    Regarding philosophy. Physics, the most fundamental of sciences, was actually done by philosophers in ancient times. Albert Einstein actually had strong interest in the philosophical implications of his theories.

    I actually just finished viewing a very nice documentary on philosophy and science (theoretical physics). It is called “What is reality?” and it is available online from now and for the next two weeks from this link:

    I very strongly recommend watching it as it is one of the best done on this subject. You studying science and having an interest in philosophy is very natural because both are ‘truth searching’ enterprises.

    Best wishes.

  13. Here are the two links:

    And, thank you for telling me about this documentary. I’ll watch it for sure :-).

    Sincerely, I appreciate your discussion with me.

  14. Searh for Lazarou (Jason Lazarou) study: Adverse Drug Reactions

    This is the correct link for the article:

    … Waiting your comment on it 🙂

  15. Thanks for the links. I looked at the first one and I can accept the last cause of death (negative effects of drugs) as a legitimate negative side effect of science-based medical treatment. The first four are really due to malpractice/human error/infections which are not the result of science per se. So we should only take into account the 106,000 deaths if we just want to discuss the ‘scientific’ bit. How many of those were the result of overdose? Plus, how many hundreds of thousands (or even millions) would have died if science has not produced these medicines (or if life saving surgeries were not performed)? Most importantly, it is very dangerous to draw conclusions based on one study only. Any competent statistician can produce a ‘desirable’ outcome 🙂 I haven’t looked at the second link.

    I appreciate you discussion too. Best wishes.

  16. I think we were posting simultaneously 🙂 I looked quickly at the paper and I think my reply above still applies. Best wishes.

  17. Best wishes for you too 🙂

  18. The link that I posted lasty, shows how the study was conducted. Here it is again>>

    I agree with you about that :it is very dangerous to draw conclusions based on one study only:.

    I am curious to know what scientific major you have chosen; I mean if you allow me to know ofcourse. Is it physics, biologie, or something else?


  19. I actually hadn’t majored in science 🙂 I studied engineering but I had/have a strong interest in the basic sciences. Also, I always liked to choose research projects that solve scientific problems as opposed to other areas of application. Best wishes in your studies.

  20. Thank you for your wishes :-). All the best for you.

  21. To define the role of the nature in many fields isnt that easy . The nature including trees , flowers , birds and all the creatures is itself an image that provide the human with a peace of mind . For all the people under prozac or any other anti-depressant , the source of medicaments is from plants ;plants are found in nature ; so why not searching for a cure in a walk rather than in a tablet . The nature is much wider and can provide you with the peace you seek . As many psychiatrists and psychologists suggest , being depressed or stressed means that your mind is engulfed by several things and needs to settle . So the best treatment for such a illness is to be in the hands of nature . The nature , if we do not destruct its components is our present and future doctor!

  22. I recently finished a thoreau’s book….wonderful! All the best to you dear Rania
    Hugs since Brasilia, Brazil

  23. This particular article “struck home” with me since I know a few people who suffer from severe anxiety and battle it on a daily basis. I am aware of how difficult it can be for someone to manage that anxiety especially when medical supplements don’t do the trick.
    “Another study demonstrated that women with breast cancer who walked in a park, watched birds or tended gardens recovered more quickly and were in better spirits than those with little or no contact with the natural world”. Is this just coincidence or from a certain type of placebo effect?
    I definitely agree with taking the more natural route and just walking in nature. Unfortunately, there are those who do not have easy accessability to plots of nature especially in cities where you can find mostly anxious people. Therefore, changes in infrastructure would be beneficial to all.
    Ralph Waldo Emmerson would certainly agree with these studies showing the power of nature. Emmerson was one of the pioneers of “transcendentalism” which believed in the “sanctity” of nature.

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