Regardless of where we live, for most of us, modern life is marked by more time spent indoors and usually hours upon hours of time spent in front of our various screens.
Many studies over the past several decades consistently show that time in nature (or even just scenes of natural environments) boosts both psychological and physiological wellbeing. Even a simple plant in a home, office, school or hospital has shown to have significant impact.
Natural landscapes restore our mind, body and spirit because, unlike a busy sidewalk or computer screen, which bombard us with information, nature allows us to replenish our physical and mental resources.
Proven Benefits of Contact with Nature
- Increased attention, focus and cognitive performance. Nature is a medicine for mental fatigue.
- Lowered stress, anxiety and depression, plus a significant alleviation of ruminating, worrying or rehashing.
- Increased happiness and elevated mood thanks in part to increased serotonin release.
- Significantly lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which is associated with many chronic illnesses.
- Accelerated healing and recovery after surgery and diminished pain.
- Heart health and decreased blood pressure.
- Greater connectivity to others and the world at large.
- Increased compassion and a feeling of support towards neighbors.
- Reduction in violence, street crime, and aggression between domestic partners.
- Increased calm, focus and attention in children with ADD and ADHD.
- Children who have regular contact with nature exhibited greater coping skills and ability to respond to stressful life events, such as bullying or domestic strife.
- Enhanced learning, absorption and retention of new information.
So, how much time do we need?
Some case studies have shown that as little as a ten-minute walk outdoors per day is enough to have an impact on stress, headaches and job performance. Other studies showed that a higher “dose” of 90-minutes walking in nature had a significant impact on the neural activity related to anxiety, depression and mental disorders. Yet other studies show that even just having a flowering plant in your sightline has a powerful effect.
So, this all adds up to No Excuses!
- Get a ficus, a fern or a bouquet of tulips
- Head up to the rooftop to watch the clouds move
- Breathe deep in your local park for a few minutes each day
- Or take a nice long walk on the beach
Renewing your body, mind and spirit through contact with nature is something that can happen right…. Now.