We all know we feel a sense of calm and serenity when we are in nature. Take a walk on a tree-lined trail, a leisurely walk along the beach and your whole system seems to calm down. It’s definitely not your imagination – it is a fact that being in nature has a powerful effect on your overall health.
According to research people who took a 90-minute walk in nature had reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk of mental illness such as depression compared to people who took a similar walk in the city.
I’ve written in a previous post about how even viewing images of natural scenery activates brain areas associated with empathy, altruism and productivity.
We can stress ourselves out trying to do everything “perfectly” (whatever that means!). You can take all the best supplements, eat all organic, free range, grass fed, non-GMO foods, exercise daily and still not feel your best!
I believe there’s more to it than just doing the right things. We are meant to enjoy each day. I think we have such busy, stressful lives that we tend to forget to enjoy the warmth of the sun on our skin, the refreshing breeze on a warm day, a beautiful, perfect flower, the smell of freshly cut grass. Those are basic blessings God has given us and now even science reminds us that being aware of nature has powerful healing benefits including:
A boost in creativity
As little as 5 minutes of exercise outdoors (a quick walk!) boosts mood and self-esteem!
Reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone
Especially if you live or work in a city environment it is important to have access to outdoor, open spaces – whether natural or simulated. In the previous post mentioned above, I told how even just taking a break during the day and looking a pictures of nature was an effective alternative.
How do you feel about getting back to nature? What is your favorite way to do it?
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I agree, Ann. We live in a society where we want EVERY SECOND to count, and we stress over this. This is one reason that some folks are becoming minimalists, just getting by with the necessities.
Yes Michael – simplifying life and getting back to basics is something I am working toward as well.
Ann, I like how you said, “I believe there’s more to it than just doing the right things. We are meant to enjoy each day.” I agree, but sometimes I get sucked into that, one more … then I’ll break. I believe we were meant to enjoy life. Thanks for sharing. There is something wonderful about being in nature. And this is the season to enjoy the outdoors.
Thank you Debbie – yes I struggle with the very same thing. This really is a beautiful time to be outside enjoying God’s creation.
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