5 Ways Getting Outdoors Improves Your Mental Health
CABIN FEVER IS GETTING TO ALL OF US A BIT AT THE MOMENT...
Whether our restlessness is the result of too many hours stuck behind the computer for work; or if it’s simply due to us feeling too frazzled or overwhelmed and thinking we don’t have time…
It might be time to explore a different attitude toward the whole concept of our mental health.
Mother Nature may just be that missing puzzle piece: The one that’s standing between you and your most calm, happy self.
While spending time outdoors may seem like a frivolous indulgence we don’t have time for, nothing could actually be further from the truth.
Consciously carving out some time to unplug so we can take that hike (or even just a sunset stroll around the neighborhood!)... Is a very necessary component when it comes to keeping healthy not only in our bodies, but in our minds and souls too.
While many mental health professionals are hasty to reach for prescription medications to treat many ailments of the spirit; this isn’t the only course of action recommended by the best and brightest medical minds.
The most well-rounded mental health specialists also recommend a healthy dose of Vitamin Nature to go hand-in-hand with a host of other natural self-care measures.
And the recommendation they have right at the very top of their lists...?
So... Why is getting outside really so good for the human spirit?
Here, we illuminate just a few of the overall health benefits that have been scientifically associated with immersing ourselves in nature, and the ways they directly and positively impact our mental health too...
5. being in nature reduces mental fatigue
Don’t forget that our brains need rest, just like the rest of our bodies. The meditative qualities and mental health benefits that reveal themselves when we take a rejuvenating turn in nature simply can’t be argued with once they’ve been experienced.
Witness the immediate ease that washes over you when you step outside and feel the majestic magnitude that is the miracle of nature, all around you.
See the delicate symphony playing out before your eyes- It’s bringing your awareness to the fact that the sun rises every morning and warms our planet, no matter what your day has in store… It shows you that the flowers will always bloom, no matter whether you’re being productive, and that the animals will forage for food, even if you haven’t finished the mountain of dishes in the sink.
Time spent in nature catapults us into the present moment, and clears out pathways for new thought processes beyond our everyday tensions.
It settles our heart rate, feels deeply nourishing to the soul, and is incredibly effective for melting away the chaos of our fast paced lives.
4. exercise releases endorphins: the happy hormone!
Getting exercise often isn’t the top priority of many people at the best of times, and unfortunately it falls even more by the wayside when we need it most... Those times when we’re stressed, anxious or depressed.
If depression or stress has you feeling lethargic or as though you can’t get out of bed, you may have forgotten about a powerful energizer you’ve got right there in your toolkit…
The wonderful release of endorphins; nature’s antidepressant.
And the best news? These mental health benefits from natural endorphins are freely available to you, and in limitless supply.
You don’t even need to conquer a mountain in order to unlock these stress-busting and energizing happy hormones... All it takes is spending time outdoors with a little gentle exercise, to get the blood moving and your lymphatic system starting to serve you with these incredible benefits.
Pair those endorphins with a healthy dose of fresh air and settling your eyes on some lush green space you’ll enjoy with this time outdoors, and you’ll be walking on a cloud of well being in no time.
3. getting outside boosts your confidence
Not only will a blast of happy hormones lift your spirits, but you’ll also enjoy the overall results you see when this physical activity improves your health and well being too.
Research has shown that doing low-intensity, outdoor activities boosts both your mood and self-esteem.
Spending time walking, biking, or even simply sitting on a park bench and watching the world go by can have huge mood boosting and mental health benefits.
When your body looks and feels great, you’ll be glowing with health. A nice side effect of this is increased confidence, as you step into your best self and project that good feeling within out to the world... Talk about win-win.
2. nature soothes anxiety & eases depression
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on retraining one’s thoughts, but to be the most successful, that process begins with slowing down the frenetic chaos that’s playing out in our racing minds in every conceivable moment.
While meditation can be difficult for even the most disciplined among us, there’s an inherently meditative quality about just being in the green space of nature, that seems almost effortless to slip into once we’re looking up into the vast expanse of the big blue sky.
Try contemplating the sensations you're experiencing... Feel the wind in your hair, or the sun’s rays caressing your cheeks.
Becoming aware of these sensations instantly summons mindfulness, and settles a busy mind.
Even listening to the silence on a calm day has been shown to lower blood pressure, settle your heart rate and decrease stress hormone levels.
1. being outdoors lowers stress levels
In a recent study, participants were encouraged to take a metaphorical “nature pill” whenever they were feeling edgy, and their cortisol levels were tested immediately after to examine their stress hormone levels.
The findings revealed that spending time outdoors for as little as 20 minutes- even in an urban green space environment- were significant in reducing stress hormones.
Blood pressure levels of the participants were also lowered, and their concentration was more acute after partaking in a little time out.
While this study represented a rather amusing concept, the results provided solid evidence that even just gazing at some trees or watching some birds fluttering about can ratchet down our anxiety levels substantially.
The mental health benefits revealed were unequivocal.
PRO TIP: When you're out getting your dose of Vitamin Nature, vitalize your body as well as your mind when you stay hydrated! The Greens Steel Water Bottle is the perfect companion; It's easy to carry, packs some serious insulation to keep your drink at the ideal temperature for longer, and is eco friendly... So you can rest easy and let your mind wander to the beauty of the environment, completely in the moment.
Mother Nature is always there to wrap our hearts, bodies and minds up in her healing embrace... And she doesn’t even require us to embark on an epic adventure into the wilderness of the outdoors to feel her nurturing health benefits!
Simply taking a stroll in the garden or enjoying your lunch in the park can give our minds the clarity and healing benefits it needs now, more than ever.
See you out there in nature,
Fefe | Greens Steel Wellness Contributor
Greens Steel is a family company. Its roots are firmly planted in healthy living, ethical business models and a dedication to preserving our earth in its pristine beauty for many generations to come.
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