We have all had a magical outdoor moment, whether among the pine scent of the forest, at sunset in the salty ocean air on the beach, or in a field of colorful flowers.
You don’t need to be an artist or poet to appreciate the beauty of nature. However, these days, most of us rarely come in contact with nature – busy at work, in front of a computer screen or caught up in everyday chores. This is a bad thing. Research shows that spending time in nature can have a positive effect on your mental and physical health.
1. You’re Alive!
A study which analyzed the emotions caused by subjects spending time in nature found that even looking at pictures of nature increased participants’ energy and feelings of vitality.
2. Nature vs. Stress
In a separate study, subjects were shown disturbing videos followed by a video showing natural or urban scenes. The study demonstrated that the subjects who saw rural or pastoral scenes recovered emotionally form the stressful situation faster than those who viewed urban scenes. Being among nature might be the most natural relaxant there is.
3. Work Out Outdoors
Exercise is beneficial wherever and whenever you do it – but outdoor exercise adds an extra mood-booster. Studies show that outdoor workouts improved participants’ moods and self-esteem within a short period of time.
Research shows that people are able to concentrate better when outdoors. One study found that children with ADHD had improved focus on tasks after a 20-minute walk in nature, compared to a walk in an urban environment.
5. Mental Health is Green
A particular study followed subjects for five years after some moved to a rural setting surrounded by nature and others to an urban setting. It became clear that green space increased participants’ sense of total well-being.
Nature inspires feelings of awe and amazement, which have been scientifically linked lower levels of cytokines in the body. This is a compound that causes inflammation in tissue and organs.
7. Longer Life
Japanese seniors were followed for five years by researchers, who found that older people living near parks and green spaces showed less risk of mortality.
8. Bring Nature Indoors
If you live in a metropolis and still want to benefit from the positive effects of nature, bring the outdoors inside with a bunch of plants and greenery. A study of hospital patients recovering from surgery found patients in rooms with plants displayed lower blood pressure, anxiety, pain levels and heart rate than those in plant-free rooms.