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Take a Walk, Be Happy

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Have you heard of ecotherapy? The treatment recommends people to go outside and be active in a green environment. Supporters believe it is a more effective treatment against depression. Perhaps someday, doctors would suggest ecotherapy in addition to drugs.

The University of Essex compared people who walked thirty minutes in a country park with people who walked for thirty minutes in a shopping mall. Seventy-one percent of the people who walked in the park said they felt happier. Ninety percent said they felt better about themselves too. On the other hand, only 45% of the people who walked in the mall felt happier. Even worse, 22% actually felt more depressed.

Recent statistics point to a huge rise in people who take anti-depressant medication. Doctors wrote more than 31 million prescriptions last year, which is a 6% increase. Many experts are worried about the mental health of the UK.

Another study showed even more positive results. Nature and exercise helped 90% of people. Therefore, doctors need to understand that ecotherapy is an option for better mental health.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "depression" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.

Questions: Answer the questions to check comprehension.

  1. What is the name of the new treatment for depression?
  2. What does the treatment recommend?
  3. Which was better, a walk in the country or a walk in the shopping mall?
  4. According to the article, why are experts worried about the future of UK citizens?
  5. Why do doctors need to understand more about ecotherapy?

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Do you think ecotherapy will be effective against depression? Why/not?
  2. Do you think people will choose ecotherapy instead of medication? Why/not?
  3. If your doctor told you to take walks in the park, what would you think? Why?
  4. Do you consider yourself a happy person? Do you wish you could be happier?
  5. If you had to guess, which age group is the least happy? Why do you think so?

Google Search: Type "ecotherapy" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:

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