So it turns out those CDs of chirping birds and running water really were worth the purchase. A new study from Brighton and Sussex Medical School in England found that nature sounds affect the parts of the body that control our flight-or-fight system, reports MedicalXpress.

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Dr. Cassandra Gould van Praag, study co-author, said to the site, "We are all familiar with the feeling of relaxation and 'switching-off' which comes from a walk in the countryside, and now we have evidence from the brain and the body which helps us understand this effect.

lake-2063957_1920 People who are super stressed receive greater benefit from listening to nature sounds than those who are already relaxed. Pixabay

The research team collaborated with audio visual artist Mark Ware, for the experiment in which participants listened to sounds recorded from natural and artificial environments. Brain activity was measured using MRI and the autonomic nervous system was monitored by looking at heart rate. The team found that the default mode network part of the brain, which is active while we are at rest, reacted differently depending on background sounds.

Perhaps the most significant finding is that the change in activity varied on someone’s normal state. If a subject was particularly stressed before the experiment, they were more relaxed after listening to nature sounds than those who were already calm. Those who were already relaxed actually had a slight increase in stress levels as a result of listening to natural rather than artificial sounds.

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Prior research has shown that actually being in nature can do wonders for our mood. The Atlantic reports that a study from researchers at Stanford University showed that taking a walk through the wilderness elevates mood by decreasing negative thoughts. Not only does the great outdoors make you feel better, but a study from February 2017 indicates that camping could help reset your internal clock, helping you sleep better.

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