Feeling stressed out? Chill out by looking at these relaxing images that have proven to ease stress.
People deal with stress in different ways. Some are healthy (yoga class), some are unhealthy (binge eating), and some are just plain strange (yelling in the woods).
What they all have in common however, is they’re all time consuming. A yoga class, or finding a secluded area of the woods, takes time. But if you don’t have time to get into your zen zone, there are quick fixes to dealing with stress if you just can’t deal with life currently.
One stress reliever? Looking at tranquil photos and GIFs have the what-seems-like magical prowess to relax your mind. Check out the five images below if you’re looking for a moment of serenity in your hectic day.
Psychologists have proven city folk who live near green spaces don’t feel as much mental stress. Having said that, you don’t need to relocate to greener areas of the city to benefit from the soothing effects of nature.
Photos of greenery can perform the same role admirably. For example, one 2012 study done in the waiting rooms of Dutch hospitals found patients who were exposed to real plants, or even posters of plants, experienced less stress than those who were exposed to neither.
It’s not just the ‘whooshing’ sound of crashing waves that’s so common on white noise machines that’ll put you at ease. The actual appearance of the ocean can be just as calming on its own.
Experts claim people feel a subconscious sense of safety looking at the ocean, thanks to it’s endless supply of life-giving water, and smooth-ish surface. “When [the ocean is] landmark-free, it’s naturally calming to us, much like closing your eyes is calming,” says Michael Merzenich, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Francisco.
Natural fractals—or repeating patterns that recur on finer and finer scales—is abundant in nature. Shells, flowers, leaves, snowflakes, river deltas, and even the veins of our bodies feature this mesmerizing patterns.
Related: Learn How to Breathe Like A Yogi
Fractals may put as ease due to how our brains have evolved to interpret them, says Richard Taylor, PhD, director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon.
“The idea is that, through evolution, our visual system has developed to efficiently process the visual patterns of fractals that are prevalent in nature,” he explained in an email to Health.com. “This increased efficiency results in the observer becoming relaxed.”
Whoever coined the cliché ‘feeling blue’ should’ve got their facts right first.
Studies show that the hue associated with sadness actually has a positive psychological impact on our brain. For example, one study involving 98 college students found they associated blue with positive emotional responses – feelings of calmness, happiness, peace, and comfort.
In another study, color researcher Nancy J. Stone, PhD, a professor of psychology at Creighton University, discovered people doing difficult tasks were less anxious after they saw the soothing hue.
So take all the time you need on this page, before it’s back to reality, and all the stresses that come with it! (We probably shouldn’t of ended on that imagery; here you go).