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Stressed city slickers beat a path to the farm
Date:2010/9/7      View:1047
Beijingers have found a new and green way to get rid of their stress - beating corn stalks.

Almost every weekend, city dwellers are heading out to Dafutuo village in Yanqing county to get pent-up aggression off their chest through the unusual technique.

When they head back downtown, they return with a refreshed mind - and some fresh corn and peanuts.

"Corn stalk beating sounds fresh and interesting," said Guo Lei, a 28-year-old engineer, who tried it for the first time on Saturday.

"You can use all of your power to beat down the corn stalks and you can shout freely in the field. It was really great," he said.

Liu Xianshun, the owner of the organic farm that is the scene of the venting, said he was surprised that stalk-beating became so popular.

The idea came to him in 2008 and now as many as 400 people could took part in the activity during the harvest season.

He says business is booming.

"The number of visitors has increased about 20 percent," said Liu, who has a master's degree from the Agriculture University of China.

"It is more fun than breaking plates and doesn't hurt anyone or leave any waste," Liu said.

Liu Baofeng, a psychologist, who is working part-time at the farm to help visitors unburden themselves, said getting close to nature and doing farm work are good ways to release pressure.

"People from big cities get more pressure from work and life. They need a healthy way to prevent the stress from causing illnesses," Liu said.

He said about 10 percent of people in big cities suffer from mental problems and stresses.

The farm is set to house animals in the future, including cats, dogs and cows, so people can feed them and talk to them as another way to release pressure.

"Adults can speak out secrets or tell their problems to the animals, while children, by playing with the animals, will become more caring and will not easily feel lonely," Liu said.

"This is also effective among college students."

A survey carried out by the People's University of China in 2006 shows that nearly half of college students in Beijing feel stressed.

As a physiologist with 14 years of experience in physiological consulting, Liu said the stresses faced by sole children in families will also be more pronounced in future.

"Helping adults to release stress is important, while guiding children to build a strong mental condition is quite meaningful," he said.
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