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A new Swedish study shows spending just 72 hours in nature can reduce your stress levels by up to 70%

Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm took 5 people with stressful jobs and placed them in a cabin for 3 days in the middle of nature whilst monitoring their stress, mood and anxiety levels.

Published 12 OCT 2017 11:23AM

The 72 Hours Cabin is a Swedish initiative that aims to investigate the effects of nature on the human body, specifically related to stress and anxiety levels. Stress is one of the leading causes attributed to many health issues that affect us in the western world.

Stress can affect your mood, sleep, capacity to think, creativity, heart rate and even your blood pressure which can actually lead to some serious cardiovascular and other health problems. The sad thing about this is, it’s become almost unavoidable due to the lifestyles we lead.

The fact that most people work 30-60 hours a week in big cities surrounded by traffic, noise, technology, pollution and the biggest stressor of all, let’s face it, other people, certainly doesn’t provide any form of rest or relaxation.

All of these factors on top of money issues, family life, awful governments and constantly being stuck to phones causes huge amounts of stress and anxiety on a daily basis for most.

But don’t worry, Sweden has the answer!

The 72 Hour Swedish Cabin

Cecilia Stenfors is a PhD researcher in Psychology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She is one of the lead researchers behind this new Swedish study into the effects of nature on human stress & anxiety levels.

“When we’re coming directly from a hectic lifestyle, there’s a lot of processes still going on in our brains, during the first day it’s about landing in this natural space”

Five people agreed to participate in the initial study. Ben Fogle, a broadcaster from London. Steffi Tauscher, a Police Officer from Munich. Marilyne Didier, a Taxi Driver from Paris. Baqer Keshwani, an Event Coordinator in New York & Chris Leadbeater, a Journalist, also from London.

They were placed in their own fully open glass cabin in the middle of Swedish nature for 72 hours. They ate together every day after catching their own dinner from a fresh Scandinavian lake. Built camp fires and woke up to a beautiful view of Swedish nature every morning.

No electrical devices were allowed to be used during this time in order for them to become completely connected with nature and their surroundings. Apart from this, they could do as they please.

The Results

Several factors were taken into consideration when decided what measurements to record in order to evaluate the effects of this experiment. They included blood pressure, heart rate, stress level, anxiety level, a creative thinking test and an overall well being test.

Stress is rated on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the highest. Before entering the wilderness the participants averaged a stress level of 5.75. After 72 hours in the cabin, the average had dropped to 1.5, a huge decrease.

Overall blood pressure had decreased by 9% and overall heart rate fell from an average of 70BPM to 60BPM.

Overall, a 70% decrease in stress levels were recorded as a result of the 3 day stay in nature. Although the results are quite impressive, no control group were used for the study so it’s hard to say if it was specifically the Swedish cabin that achieved these results.

We’d imagine spending the same amount of time here with a group of 5 year olds probably wouldn’t yield the same results. So whilst there are still hundreds of other factors that could vastly alter these figures, it certainly seems to suggest that eliminating modern culture from your day and spending some time in nature instead, is a sure fire way to relax.

You can even visit the cabin yourself The 72 Hour Cabin

The 72 Hour Cabin in Sweden - Documentary

Full results of the study


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