Why Getting Out in Nature Is Good for Your Mental Health
Did you know that spending more time outdoors can reduce your stress levels? Taking time to go outside and breathe fresh air can be essential to your health and well-being.
How Do We Benefit Mentally and Emotionally from Nature?
Recently, rates of depression, anxiety and suicide have begun to rise. Thankfully, new scientific research shows that spending time in nature leads to a significant reduction in anxiety and symptoms of depression and excess stress. And this result is not just self-reported; scientists have found that levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone, are significantly reduced with time spent in nature.
Spending time in nature doesn’t just reduce overall stress. Time in nature has been found to improve sleep habits, benefiting those who suffer from sleep difficulties or conditions that are associated with inadequate sleep, such as depression. Studies of individuals who have spent significant time in nature report and and a .
Step Outside to Work
You don’t have to spend hours a day outside to reap these advantages either. Some companies are catching on to the health benefits that time spent outside can have for their employees. They’re incorporating “green spaces,” such as nature trails and open gardens, into office designs to give employees a place to retreat. When employees are allowed , they are both —a win-win situation for employers and workers.
Working adults are not the only ones that benefit from being out in nature. Children surrounded by ample green space compared with children who have limited access to natural areas were nearly every diagnosable mental illness. No matter our age, occupation or location, we all benefit from getting outside and being out in nature.
How Can You Spend More Time in Nature?
Some of us have the luxury of access to the outdoors simply because of where we live; others have to organize our lives more deliberately in order to create time to spend outside. Even if you work for a company that has not yet embraced the benefits of time outdoors, there are still ways you can incorporate nature into your everyday life.
Embrace the Outdoor Gym
One easy way is to choose to exercise outside over the gym. Why spend time sitting in your car and driving to the gym just to run on a treadmill when you can simply step outside and start running? Outdoor exercise offers a double dose of feel-good endorphins, as both exercise and exposure to nature are known to contribute to optimal mental health. Even swapping the outdoors for the gym just one or two days a week can greatly enhance your well-being.
Practice Mindfulness in Nature
For those who can only commit small snippets of time to being outdoors—for example, on a lunch break or before or after work or 体彩app官方网站—there are still plenty of options. One of the best ways to get in some outdoor time is called “earthing,” or “grounding.” This method involves finding a small patch of grass, taking off your shoes and socks and walking barefoot on the ground. You can also lie in the grass and put your hands on—or even in—the earth. It may feel silly at first, but committing to this practice for at least 30 minutes once or twice a week has been shown to improve mental and physical health alike. And even if you are bound to a large urban area, many cities offer classes or volunteer opportunities in local parks and nature areas that will help keep you interested, engaged and productive while soaking up some sun and fresh air. Just remember to wear sunscreen!
Any time you can find to escape into nature is better than nothing. Start identifying ways, however small or brief, to incorporate more outdoor time into your life, and you will reap the benefits of an increased sense of well-being and a more positive mental outlook. Sometimes, the best things in life truly are free: to get more out of time spent in nature, all you have to do is step outside.
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