When you hear the birds chirping, see the sun reflect off a pond, or feel a gentle breeze blowing, you are releasing built up stresses and anxiety without realizing it. There are many theories as to the benefits from spending some time outdoors. Below are just a few. What other ones can you come up with?
- Being in nature improves your vitality. Scientific studies show that natural environment can have remarkable benefits for our health. Spending just 20 minutes with nature improves our emotional strength and increases our enthusiasm. You are more resilient and have more zest in your life.
- Living or being near a green space reduces depression. City planners purposefully use green space as a way to improve overall mental wellness. Studies show those who live among nature are less depressed.
- Exposure to plants and parks boosts immunity. Scientists have found that when people spend time in natural surroundings (parks, forests, greenspaces), they experience increased immune function. One reason is the airborne chemicals plants emit to protect themselves from rotting and insects have a benefit to humans.
- Sunlight = Vitamin D. When sunlight hits the skin, it beings a process that leads to the creation and activation of Vitamin D. Studies have linked an increase in heart attacks to those with low Vitamin D levels. Consult with your physician as to the proper amount of sunlight you need.
- Nature is a happiness booster. Based on a study in Canada, it was determined those who spent 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days reported an increase in their sense of well-being, more energy, less stress, better sleep, more productivity on the job, and felt happier.
- Being in nature inspires creativity. Creativity peaks after about three days of really getting away and immersing yourself in nature. Constant distractions and the stimulation of modern life are a threat and zap our resources. When in nature, our mind is less threatened by distraction and more stimulated by creativity.
- Aligning with nature improves memory and cognition. Our brains love it when we take in the sights and sounds of nature. It has been proven that memory and attention improved by 20% after taking a break and walking through an arboretum. Conversely, the study found no boost when walking down a busy street.
Make it a habit to spend more time in nature. Exercise outside occasionally rather than the gym. Have lunch outdoors. Have a plant in your office, if allowed, or make your drive home go through a park or green space.
Equally important is to give your time to others. By devoting your time and energy to a cause much bigger than yourself, you begin to realize the impact you can have. You are no longer focused on your own self-interest. Much like spending time with nature, when you give time to others (volunteering), you feel less time constrained and better able to complete many tasks and responsibilities. By giving time to others, as opposed to unwinding in front of the television, you actually feel less time inhibited. When you are more generous with your time you find yourself more productive and less rushed or stressed.
Finally, it is important to travel often. Traveling stretches your horizon and enriches your commitment to lifelong learning. It also gives you an opportunity to disconnect from regular life. The relaxation one experiences when traveling is totally different than relaxing at home. And, we don’t mean traveling to a relative’s house or a place associated with work. It is important to experience new customs and gain a new perspective. When you travel, you begin to appreciate the things you take for granted. You also gain a stronger visualization of what you can create.
Why not designate one weekend a month to get yourself out of your regular routines? Allow the ever-changing scenery of your life keep you inspired. There is so much more to your world than your everyday routine.
And, throughout your day remind yourself this is “My Moment to Succeed.”
bartism: "You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results." ~gandhi