Dan’s stress levels spiked momentarily as he encountered an area littered with lost items but this quickly passed.
As he moved on he seemed to enjoy discovering small pockets of nature preserved within the urban
environment, such as tenacious flowers and berry trees (OR BUSHES?) growing amidst the concrete and metal of the city’s alleyways.
Dan maintained his focus and excitement for most of his walk through the suburb of Ely. However, around 1:28pm Dan reached a major road where his focus and excitement were
replaced by a spike in his stress levels. After he had crossed and left the busy road Dan regained a moderate focus level as he headed through another stretch of suburban streets
towards Victoria Park.
"In all of my city walks larger roads are consistently associated with stress. Roads are a big part of my everyday life and I’ve grown so used to them that I don’t think of them
as particularly stressful places. However, wearing the EEG has really tuned me in to how stressful they are for pedestrians. I’ve also become far more aware of how many people drive and
how few people walk."
As he entered Victoria Park, Dan was alert and interested with low levels of stress as he took the time to explore his surroundings.
At one point in the centre of the park Dan walked in a complete circle. His excitement,
focus, engagement, and stress levels all spike in unison suggesting either that something particularly stimulating caught his attention or perhaps that the loop was unintentional
and he was feeling frustrated.
"Ha ha ha ha! I was absolutely desperate for a pee. I was about to leave the park and then realised there was a loo so I doubled back. Clearly when you really need a pee
it peaks your excitement, focus, engagement, and stress - sounds like being on a roller coaster!"
As Dan leaves the park and begins navigating his way through central Cardiff he was in a highly relaxed and meditative state. The unexpected quiet of the city’s streets
allowed his mind to rest.
Around 3:13pm Dan’s excitement peaked as he reached the edge of the River Taff. His focus increased as he stopped to video the water while crossing the bridge into Bute Park.
The walk through Bute Park was brief but rejuvenating with low levels of stress and focus as
Dan enjoyed the scenery and let his mind wander.
"There was lots of love in Bute Park, with so much to enjoy. I loved watching the River Taff and feeling it move through the landscape while the wind blew the tall grasses and the
great mature trees. It was a real pleasure to be there. "
Back on the busy roads of the city, Dan’s excitement levels went up as his mind took in the many visual distractions of Queens Street, the city centre’s main thoroughfare. There were also
small spikes in stress that probably reflect the increase in pedestrian traffic that he suddenly faced.
From around 4:09pm and for the remainder of the walk Dan was in a very excited and meditative state, perhaps because he knew the expedition was nearly over. While his focus and stress levels
fluctuated, they spiked significantly as he crossed a major road near Splott around 4:11pm. Dan’s mind subsequently relaxed as he passed Moorland Park and found himself walking on quieter streets.
His stress and focus levels spiked one last time as he reached the very end of the walk and carefully navigated the slope down to the water where he took one last snap to share on Twitter.
"I had really loved walking across Cardiff, but by this point two things were really bugging me. First, that litter was a really prominent feature of my walk: of all the 69 cities I’ve crossed Cardiff was
second only to Leeds for its volume of litter. Secondly, I finished this expedition during rush hour and had to walk half a kilometre along a busy road that was packed with stationary traffic. The vast majority of
these cars had only one person inside which really troubled me. Both of these issues and their negative effects are repeated across the UK to varying degrees, but I believe that they can be successfully tackled
and resolved through smart thinking and technology."
Walk Overview: As Dan hiked across Cardiff his experiences stimulated a range of emotions. Although Dan enjoyed the whole walk, we can clearly see his enjoyment and relaxation levels increase through the day.
This is in contrast to Dan’s longer walks where he becomes tired and frustrated towards the end of a day. It’s difficult to conclusively say why there is this difference, but it may be due to the comparative shortness of the
walk or because Dan was moving from the more-populated part of Cardiff to the less-populated side of the city. Dan was clearly disappointed by the poor state of some public areas, particularly during the earlier parts of his
walk. His irritation at the neglect and litter he found was apparent in his high stress levels and loss of focus. It is also interesting to note that navigating busy streets and main roads induced a high level of focus as
well as stress. There were clear changes in Dan’s brain state, and he even tweets about the possible long-term effects of traffic on mood and the brain. In contrast, parks and green spaces served as rejuvenating pit-stops
where Dan’s brain could rest as he was both stress-free and engaged.