Nature is a wonderful healer. In my previous post, I wrote briefly about the idea of the importance of spending time in nature and how it is a good way to recharge. A reader commented and asked me to discuss it more, so here is part two.
We all have various jobs and some may be on the road or able to spend some time outdoors whilst others are in offices. Typically, many spend most of days breathing in recycled air and if we work in high rise buildings/offices with windows which stay closed or aren’t able to be opened for safety reasons, then the air is stale.
While there have been a multitude of scientific studies done on whether there are negative health effects and cognitive effects from breathing in stale/recycled air daily, the results are inconclusive. So, rather than focus on the scientific research, I will focus on the benefits of getting outdoors.
Increased serotonin levels. Ah, the happy chemical. In our high stress lives, our cortisol levels are running high but when we get outside and allow our lungs to be filled with fresh air, we help our body to produce and release serotonin. So after a walk in the park, along the beach or anywhere outdoors, we feel better thanks to the change in chemicals.
Vitamin D. A great way to naturally increase your Vitamin D levels is by getting out in the sunshine. While you may want to speak to a health professional about whether supplements may be needed to maintain your Vitamin D levels during the cooler months, during the warmer seasons, being outdoors is an ideal way of maintains and/or increasing your levels. Vitamin D helps your body maintain the healthiness of your bones and teeth, can help reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancer, MS and diabetes as well as supporting a strong immune system, optimizing your brain health and function of your nervous system.
Boost your mental health. Fortunately, I have never experienced the complete darkness which depression casts over a person and their life however, I know what it is like to feel low, helpless and discontent. While going for nature walks may not remove your depression alone, it can increase your short term memory, lower anxiety, lower your blood pressure and allow you to clear your mind.
Gratitude. There’s not a time where I’ve returned from a walk in the same state of mind as before I went. If you allow yourself to be present in the moment and take in your surroundings, you get to experience the awe inspiring feeling which nature gifts to us. It’s easy to take for granted the beautiful surroundings that we drive past or glaze over because we have seen them so many times. Hedonistic adaptation happens when we get used to our surroundings and level of life. We take for granted what we have and forget to treasure it. So, by going for nature walks, you can counteract this by consciously being present and finding a few things to be grateful for such as the ability to go outside, to have the sight to take in the surroundings, for the cool breeze, fresh air and colours of the environment. Let your imagination run wild, once you start, so many things will come to mind.
It’s self care. Not only are you taking care of yourself physically but you can reconnect with yourself on a spiritual and emotional level. If you take some time to silence the thoughts which are in your mind, you can experience the feeling of just being. It’s free and accessible at any time.