Have you noticed that spending time in nature makes you feel better? Being in nature reduces anger, fear and stress and can increase emotional wellbeing. The physical impacts of being in nature are reduced heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure as well as a reduction in stress hormones.
In a study published in Mind, 95% of those interviewed found their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed and anxious to more calm and balanced.
‘Forest bathing’ or Shinrin-yoku was developed in Japan in the 1980’s and has become a cornerstone in Japanese medicine. The concept is simply to visit a natural area and walk in a relaxed way to enjoy health benefits. The proven benefits are long and include a bolstered immune system, improved recovery from surgery, improved sleep and reduced stress.
A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that looking at pictures of green space for 5 minutes increased parasympathetic activity after a stressful event. Even pictures of nature, helped people reduce stress. If you can’t get yourself outside more often, consider adding images to your home and workplace of beautiful natural scenes and take time to appreciate them.
What steps can you take to incorporate more nature?
Take a less urban route when driving.
Walk on a less urban street or make a point to walk near or in a park.
Find windows in your home or office that overlook nature and make a point to look outside and appreciate what you see.
In the wintertime if you are cold sensitive spend time in a conservatory such as Como Park in St. Paul.
Get physical outside, make a point to run outside vs on a treadmill.
Put a bird feeder outside a window that is easily visible and make a point to appreciate the animals that stop by.
Add plants to your home and office.
Garden! Consider a community garden if you don’t have a yard.
Make sure you have natural light entering your home.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy nature? Any tips or tricks? Comment below!