Putting a Cap on Stress with a Glass Ceiling

Alicia Naicker, News Editor

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Our busy lives and fast paced way of living has made stress an everyday issue for some which has led many to concoct their own methods of dealing with ongoing stress. Whether it is snuggling up to read a good book, browsing the web, or doing nothing at all, it seems to do the trick. However, a new stress reduction initiative by Visit Sweden has posed a new method of stress reduction to willing participants, spending seventy-two hours in a Glass Cabin.
The seventy-two Hour Cabin invited participants selected from high-stress jobs in various parts of the world to experience the cabin in a privately owned natural landscape to test their personal growth and experience. There, the five visitors experienced common Swedish outdoor activities in the Dasland forests with full meal accommodations in a private one room cabin. Supported by high international rankings for “best quality of life,” the reason for starting the initiative was, “to acquaint visitors with the special bond Swedes have with their natural environment, and to invite the world to experience it too,” says Visit Sweden. The country as a whole emphasizes such values, where Allemansrätten, or freedom to roam, is an age old tradition that lives on in a modern. However, the golden rule of the region is to respect the land, should you choose to roam on it.
The Dasland forests in west Sweden includes tourist activities such as walking trips, cycling, paddling, climbing, horse riding, fishing and foraging in a setting that “appeals to all the senses,” says the West Sweden Tourist Board. Settled on a private island Henriksholm within the forest, those who were involved in the program stayed in private cabins that had complete visual exposure to the outside world.

Their wellbeing was measured in terms of stress, problem solving and creativity. All individuals in the project showed a significant drop in systolic blood pressure, which is generally used as a marker for stress. Researchers also noted a general drop in heart rate and improved scores in general well-being. Self-assessment tests were the main tools in question to compare how participants were impacted by the case study with content including their view on their well-being and their “connection to nature.” A common remote associate test was also used to assess creativity and problem solving ability. More personally, those who spent three days at the cabin were instructed to fill out a semi-structured diary that best described their emotional experience at the cabin. The elaborate case study was monitored by Stockholm stress researchers Walter Osika and Cecilia Stenfors from the Karolinska Institute who determined that findings of improved wellbeing was closely related to the outdoor oriented lifestyle in Sweden.

The Cabins are available for tourist use at two locations in the same region. The cabins in the Dasland forests have a basic cost of 6,695 Swedish Kronas or roughly 790.57 US Dollars. Basic accommodations include breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a rowing boat and a fishing rod for personal use. Additional options for the stay include a guide for basic wilderness instruction, trail riding with horses, archery lessons, as well as gold panning. Baldersnäs Herrgård is another location available to stay at with turn of the century charm and contemporary standards so that you can enjoy your stay to the fullest” with an English style parkland with handicraft shops and cafes. Other feature add-ons include sauna and jacuzzi access, but prices for both destinations are about the same. While the means of distressing are far from home, the experience is one worth trying.