Capstones

Graduation Date

Fall 12-16-2017

First Advisor

Emily Laber-Warren

Subject Concentration

Health & Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Abstract

In 2010, Candice Opperman's job made her sick. The weight of working full-time while going to grad school began to create so much stress and anxiety that she felt like she was being "held down by a lead vest."

In 2013, after three years at Merrill Lynch, Opperman’s doctors diagnosed her with burnout and insisted she go on disability. Thats when she started using nature in her recovery.

Opperman turned to green spaces instinctively, but doctors are increasingly prescribing nature as therapy. Experimental data suggest that parks and open spaces can help heal the human brain, especially from disorders involving anxiety and stress. Bacteria in soil help the body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood; and studies show that simply looking at trees from inside an office can energize a depleted brain.

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Life Sciences Commons

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