07 May Healing in Nature
We all feel it. Walking through the forest, you can’t help but feel the pull of the trees, the fresh air, sweet song of the birds. As children, we played cheerfully in nature, without a care in the world. Where is that care-free feeling now?
In a world where we are pushed to be constantly busy and rushing around from place to place, we scarcely get a moment to breathe. When we do have a minute to rest, all we want to do is sit on the couch, look at our phones, and zone out for a while. Society today conditions us to believe that if we aren’t constantly doing, we aren’t progressing, and therefore we are regressing. This principle, however, takes a toll on our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual beings. More people than ever before have been diagnosed as depressed, anxiety-ridden, unable to focus, unable to sleep, and are struggling to live as fully-functioning human beings. Sadly, this seems like the new norm.
You may find yourself asking, “Can we do anything to reverse this negative trend?” The answer is yes, and the start of the process is quite simple: Spend more time in nature.
Below are a few excerpts and links to various articles supporting (and scientifically backing!) the importance and value of spending more time in nature.
How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?
“Research reveals that environments can increase or reduce our stress, which in turn impacts our bodies. What you are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment is changing not only your mood, but how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working.
The stress of an unpleasant environment can cause you to feel anxious, or sad, or helpless. This in turn elevates your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension and suppresses your immune system. A pleasing environment reverses that.
And regardless of age or culture, humans find nature pleasing.”
(Read the full article here.)
7 Benefits of Spending Time in Nature
- Better Overall Health and Quality of Life
- An Immune System Boost
- Lowered Stress and Lowered Blood Pressure
- Increased Physical Activity
- A Boost in Mental Health
- Better Cardiovascular Health
- Increased Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
(Excerpt from Alive magazine. Want to read about each benefit? Find the full article here.)
The Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature
This article from Paleo Leap discusses the scientifically researched benefits of spending time in nature, providing readers with peer-reviewed studies from around the world. Topics from the benefits of one-time nature exposure (yes, just going outside once helps!) to living around green space and spending long periods of time in nature.
“Long-term studies have shown that living near forests and green is associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, especially respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease. Intervention studies have backed up the association by showing that nature exposure reduces stress. Living near a lot of green space may also encourage more physical activity, sun exposure, and air quality.”
(Excerpt from the article- find the full written piece here.)
Here’s even more evidence that you need to spend time enjoying nature
“Twentieth Century German social psychologist Erich Fromm first advanced the notion that humans hold an inborn connection to nature. Later, it was popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.” In the ensuing years, support for the positive effects of nature has gained considerable traction, grounded in a growing body of research. In recent weeks, at least four new studies have emerged adding more validity to what science repeatedly has revealed: being around nature is good for us. The latest research shows that interacting with nature makes the brain stronger and soothes the psyche.”
(Article by Marlene Simmons, published on PopSci. Read the full article here.)
For those who need scientific backing and proof that it’s healthy to spend time outdoors, this is just a starting point. However, the majority of us can’t deny feeling happier, more energized, mentally clear, less stressed, and refreshed after spending even an hour walking in nature.
Plus, who really needs an excuse to spend more time outside?