Take a moment to consider these questions: how many hours a day have you spent staring at a screen in the last week? How much time have you spent in the last month working and commuting in the city? When was the last time you were outdoors in nature?
As we increasingly find ourselves relying more on technology and living in urban neighborhoods, spending time with nature starts to feel more like a luxury instead of a necessity. However, research shows that having a better connection to nature is linked to many benefits that can improve our mental health.
How Your Environment Affects You
Your surroundings and environment play a significant role in your mental health. If you’re in an unpleasant environment, chances are you might feel stressed, sad, or anxious. This can affect your physical health as well.
If you’re in a positive environment, your mood and health usually improves as well. Because we’re inherently attracted to nature, building a connection with green spaces can heal us emotionally and physically.
What Are the Benefits of Nature?
Making time to be outdoors produces many benefits for your mental health, such as:
- Reduced stress
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved mood
- Improved creativity
- Improved attention span
- Feeling calmer and more refreshed
In addition to your mental health, your physical health can also improve. This includes:
- Reduced heart rate
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced muscle tension
- Reduced production of stress hormones
If you struggle with depression and/or anxiety, studies have shown that spending time outdoors can help balance negative emotions. For example, someone struggling with an overactive mind caused by anxiety can find relief in nature and feel refreshed afterwards.
How to Introduce More Nature into Your Life
The best way to incorporate nature into your routine is to make time for it. Even if it’s once or twice a week, spending time outside away from screens will benefit your well-being. Remote spaces are particularly helpful, but urban parks can also help you feel better.
If you live in an urban neighborhood and don’t have green or blue spaces (areas near marine life/water) near you, you can try watching nature scenery or listening to audio such as the sound of rain or waves. You can also add plants to your home to create your own green space (you can check out our blog post on indoor plants here!).
“Because my job mostly revolves around me being online, I’ve tried to incorporate digital touches of nature. My phone and computer wallpapers are photos of nature and I’ve also started watching YouTube videos of scenic walks to help me relax when I’m stressed.” – Annie, Marketing Copywriter
Our Book Recommendation:
The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
In this book, Williams travels to different areas in the world and explores the science behind nature and its positive effects on our brains. While taking us on her journey, she demonstrates how nature can improve our health, strengthen relationships, and encourage creativity.
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