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If your regular route to the grocery store is on a highway packed with billboards and commercial clutter, you might want to find a more scenic route, even if it takes you longer. Your lower stress levels will thank you.
Researchers at Ohio State University, in Columbus, found that college students who viewed a driving video of a scenic parkway meandering through a heavily wooded area registered less stress than those who watched videos of a highway with a few manmade structures or a roadway lined with strip malls and commercial signs.
Even if you have to contend with a bit of traffic on your scenic drive, your stress levels should still remain low. When researchers tweaked the video they believed most calming -- the scenic parkway -- by adding extra congestion, student viewers remained serene.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, June 2004.