Have you ever wondered why you feel so refreshed and clear-minded after spending some time outdoors? Turns out, being immersed in nature can positively affect the human body and mind. Spending time in nature doesn’t have to mean hour-long hikes or a whole day at the beach; I find that a quick walk in the sunshine during a lunch break will have me feeling more alert and happy for the rest of the day.
The scientific evidence behind this phenomenon proves that people can gain massive mental and physical health benefits from being in the great outdoors. From increasing energy levels to preventing disease, below are three reasons to spend some more time with Mother Nature.
Nature Reduces Stress and Improves Mood
Stress can easily show up in anybody’s life, whether from a heavy workload or simply juggling everyday tasks. When poorly managed, anxiety is unhealthy and can lead to more severe health issues. For me, being boxed up in my house or office all day typically leads to feelings of discomfort and anxiety. One way to relieve this stress is by taking a walk in natural environments, like a park or just around the block.
Personally, I’ve been an avid hiker my whole life. The experience is excellent, and it is an excuse to get outside and clear my head to feel more grounded and at peace. Being under the sun can turn my mood around in a matter of minutes. Hiking is a way that I can get in exercise for my body and my mind at the same time. Even if it’s just a quick 2-3 mile hike, getting it done feels like a huge accomplishment.
If that’s not enough to convince you to get outside, here’s something crazy. Recently, healthcare professionals performed an extensive study showing that 90 minutes of outdoor activity can reduce brain activity linked to mental illness. The research also suggests that time spent in natural environments can lower the risk of depression.
Nature Increases Energy Levels
Feeling sluggish is a normal part of most people’s days, so don’t underestimate the power of being outdoors to help combat this. Numerous studies have proven that exposure to nature is directly linked to increased energy and an elevated sense of well-being.
The very presence of nature helps me ward off feelings of mental and physical exhaustion during an extra-sluggish day. I find that my head feels lighter, and my body feels more energized when I prioritize time outdoors. Neglecting to go outside throughout the day often leads to mental and physical fatigue.
Escaping into nature for extended periods can significantly boost focus, creativity, and cognitive function. Another reason to step outside is to get Vitamin D. While Vitamin D supplements exist, the best way to get this crucial nutrient is straight from the sun. Our skin produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, and it plays a significant role in boosting our energy levels.
Nature Increases Creativity Levels
A constant flow of emails, messages, and general notifications can end up having a burdensome impact on our brains. Small, technological demands distract and cognitively wear us out, making inventing new ideas a more difficult task.
When I spend time basking in the outside air, I often experience a natural shift in how I view the world around me. This is mainly because being in nature helps in finding inspiration and unlocking new levels of creativity. Additionally, the outdoors tends to shift my mindset from “I’m running out of time” to “I have an abundance of time.”
Many people face harsh deadlines in their careers, which can directly correlate to experiencing a creative block. The good news is that quality time in nature can help you jump over “writer’s block.” Heck, even before writing this article, I stepped outside to get the creative juices flowing.
Many studies have shown that nature can improve your memory, as well. When it comes to memorization for tests or taking better notes, spending time outdoors could be the key. If you’re anything like me, keeping my memory sharp is an increasingly difficult challenge!
In Conclusion: Take a Hike!
Today’s world is primarily fueled by technology, so the urge to get back into nature is stronger than ever. To fully reap the benefits that Mother Nature has to offer, it’s essential to take a break and recharge outside often.
Aside from the refreshing sense of outside air, the great outdoors can increase satisfaction with life, happiness, and mindfulness while lowering anxiety and depression. Find time every day to take advantage of these benefits.
The pressure and stress of day-to-day life can quickly build up and weigh heavy on our hearts and minds. Many factors play into this, like work, relationships, or technology. Still, the good news is that nature is a free resource, and we can access it and its benefits by merely stepping outside.