Forest recreation is an activity that could be successfully used to alleviate negative symptoms of stress in individuals. Multiple positive psychological and physiological effects have been described in the literature, especially regarding works describing research from Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. In East-Central Europe, however, the effectuality of forest recreation has not been addressed in scientific research. Thus, a special recreation program was developed, and its usability was examined with the involvement of 21 young Polish adults. A pre- and post-test design was used, wherein four psychological questionnaires were applied (Profile of Mood States, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, Restorative Outcomes Scale, Subjective Vitality Scale), and physiological measures were assessed (pulse rate, blood pressure) before and after the program. A field study was also conducted at the nature reserve Redykajny, near the suburban forest of the city of Olsztyn. The recreational program had a significant impact on psychological and physiological parameters. After recreation, the negative mood markers of the negative affect decreased and the positive affect, including restoration and vitality, increased. Furthermore, pulse rates, systolic blood pressures, and mean arterial pressures of the participants were significantly lower after the program. These results reveal that the short forest recreation program may be effective in reducing negative symptoms of stress.
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