The benefits of spending time in nature


December 12, 2019
Filipe Bastos

The modern world is fast-paced, competitive and stressful. It is also becoming increasingly digitalised. Our daily lives are busier than ever before, and we are under increasing amounts of pressure, be it work, school or otherwise. It is challenging to carve out the time in our daily routines to do the things that truly bring us joy and make us feel at peace. This combination of both happiness and stillness may be tricky to find for many of us, but the benefits of achieving this state of being for our minds and bodies can last for weeks. For many of us, we may take nature for granted; something that is just ‘there’. But we really shouldn’t. As humans, nature is intrinsically important to us. It can have powerful health benefits if we take the time to re-connect with it every now and again. The modern work environment, in particular, is alien to what keeps us healthy and happy as humans. Sure, it is important to stay busy and be motivated, but it is equally important to take time to rest and just breathe. Something as simple as taking a walk amongst some trees or in a green space can do wonders for our health.

 The benefits of being outdoors

Being immersed in a natural environment can reduce blood pressure, decrease heart rate and muscle tension, and boost the immune system. This is true for all humans, regardless of age, health or culture. In fact, it has been proven that even seeing a picture of nature can go some way towards providing such benefits. Our brains and bodies are naturally attuned to respond to nature positively. It is a common trait of all humans. We are genetically programmed to feel happier and calmer when we are surrounded by trees, water, plants, and other natural elements. We are only recently starting to catch on to just how much the “concrete jungles” of many urban cities are negatively affecting us. Forward-thinking cities such as Singapore are starting to counteract some of this toxicity, intending to turn the city into a ‘city in a Garden’. This recognition of the importance of green spaces within our cities is still in its infancy – within the next decade, our modern cities may look very different, as the importance of mental health becomes more and more prevalent.

What research says?

Studies show that even proximity to a green or natural space can cause benefits to our health. Further studies by Swedish physician Matilda Van Den Bosch found that after a stressful math test, participants’ heart rates returned to normal more quickly after they were shown fifteen minutes of nature scenes. This goes some way as to show us just how powerful nature can be for our mental, as well as our physical state of being. A fifteen-minute physical walk through a wooded area can reduce cortisol in our bodies by 16%, as well as a 2% decrease in blood pressure, and a 4% decrease in heart rate. In a society where stress and burnout run rampant, a simple, free, and extremely effective walk in nature can save us time and money, as well as saving our health. The studies are clear – for the sake of your wellbeing, spending some time in nature is a no-brainer. The benefits of nature are widely underestimated, we may turn to resources such as shopping, eating out and other forms of consumption to give us short-term dopamine hits. But in the long-term, these distractions can often lead to more anxiety and stress. We may end up spending more than anticipated, as well as accumulating more stuff than we really need. Choosing to spend time in nature will also increase your dopamine levels, as well as providing a wealth of other benefits. Even better if you can walk briskly and get some exercise at the same time.

What is “nature deprivation”?

‘Nature deprivation’ which roughly translates to spending too much time in front of screens, and in the online digital world, can have serious consequences. Scientists have linked too much screen time to an increased likelihood of depression. Spending too much time on social media can often lead to feelings of isolation that can then generate feelings of depression and anxiety, which may cause people to isolate themselves even further. Moreover, Mobile phones can cause the EEG activity of our brain to go into overload. This causes us to miss details, be less aware of our surroundings and have shorter attention spans overall. Spending time in nature can be an effective, immediate way to counter that by reducing negative thoughts and rumination. The best part, research says, is that the type of environment doesn’t matter. Even a short walk around some green in your neighbourhood can help.

While the science on the benefits of nature is still young, researchers are hopeful that it will continue to grow, revealing the wealth of health benefits which we are only recently starting to come to terms with as a society. This is encouraging to those of us who are looking for a way to ease some of the symptoms we may feel as a result of being a part of an over-worked, and increasingly busy society. Something as simple as stepping outside of your front door and enjoying a walk in the fresh air can go some way towards providing some of the benefits we have discussed. Nature can help you to be a kinder, calmer and healthier person. It costs nothing, and it is enjoyable and soothing to be immersed in natural settings.To recap, Nature provides a range of health benefits: including reduced anxiety and depression; reduced heart rate and blood pressure; reduced feelings of stress and overwhelm; increased mood and attention span; and a general sense of overall wellbeing. No other activity can provide so many benefits while having no side effects. There really are no disadvantages to the simplicity and powerfulness of nature in how it can help us, so get out and enjoy it!

Mindowl Weekly

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter, to have early access to new articles on Meditation, Psychology and Breathwork.  Enter your email to subscribe – emails are limited to one a week and your address will not be shared with anyone else.

Check our YouTube Channel:

713
20
11.6K
888 Views

When we feel happy for others, it creates a positive feedback loop of happiness that touches not jus...

484 Views

The four Stoic virtues, wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance, can help you become a better perso...

467 Views

In this video, we explore the concept of equanimity and its importance in meditation. Equanimity is ...

639 Views

Are you looking for a way to calm your mind and focus? Trataka meditation might be the answer for yo...

388 Views

When negative emotions arise in our minds – it could have been brought on by a stressful activity,...

839 Views

We've all been there. Somebody does something that we don't like and our first instinct is to react ...

758 Views

There are some things in life that we can't control. We may not be able to change the situation, but...

687 Views

Do you want to know how to develop emotional maturity? In this video, we will be discussing three si...

Follow us on Instagram:

519
6.2K

Mindowl

Go beyond the meditation app!
Free resources:
👇👇👇

A little reminder that kindness is contagious. ✨

#quotesaboutlife #mindfulquotes #practicemindfulness #bekind #bekindtoyourmind #dogoodfeelgood #realhappiness #selfempowerment #mindfulmovement #intentionalliving #mentalhealthquote #peacefulness
Our greatest moments, memories, and experiences aren’t defined by their magnitude or greatness, but by the people who fill them and give them life. ✨

#findingyourself #bekindtoyourmind #mindfulquote #mindfulmoment #positivepsychology #dailycalm #practicemindfulness #calmthemind #innerwork #realhappiness #selfacceptance #findingyourself #mentalhealthjourney #mensmentalhealth
You are exactly where you're meant to be. 💚

#mindandbody #mensmentalhealth #mindfulmovement #keepbreathing #practicemindfulness #mindfulnessmoment #livinginthemoment #bekindtoyourmind #mentalhealthjourney #dailycalm #groundyourself #livemindfully
With rising temperatures, worrisome droughts, and looming environmental issues, it’s perfectly normal to feel sad, anxious, angry, and powerless. 😔

In times like this, mindfulness and self-awareness can be crucial in your ability to cope with fear. Here are 3 tips to help manage your climate anxiety:

🌍 Practice acceptance, not denial - accept you can't change the world on your own, only your tiny role within it
🌍 Try not to feel responsible for others - concentrate on your own journey.
🌍 Reduce your carbon footprint - take pride in lifestyle changes that you make. 

#mindandbody #practicemindfulness #dailycalm #mensmentalhealth #climateaction #cleanplanet #believeinbetter #groundyourself #livemindfully #mindfulnessmoment #keepbreathing #selfempowerment #peaceofmind #mindfultip #calmthemind #mentalhealthjourney
The greatest challenges we experience are often also our greatest teachers. 

If you’re repeatedly experiencing the same challenge, know that it is there not to push you down or hold you back, but to teach and strengthen you. 💪

#mindfulquotes #selfawareness #innerstrength #mensmentalhealth #innerwork #selfempowerment #peaceofmind #mindfulliving #mindfulmoment #practicemindfulness #findingyourself #reducestress
Fear is often the thing that holds us back most from developing a deeper self-knowledge and awareness in our lives:

🌖 We fear being vulnerable.
🌗 We fear change.
🌘 We fear the truth.
🌑 We fear being wrong.

In moments that you feel fear creeping up on you, or notice it holding you back, take a moment to question your fear and ask yourself if your fear is truly serving you.

If you're interested in reading more on self-awareness and fear, check out last week's article on our blog. 🦉

#selfempowerment #peaceofmind #mensmentalhealth #findingyourself #practicemindfulness #peacefulness #calmthemind #innerwork #quietthemind #dealingwithanxiety #keepbreathing  #positivepsychology #dailycalm

MORE FROM THE BLOG

Keep on reading

We all experience moments of happiness and joy for others. It could be that your best friend has just secured their dream job, or your sibling has got into their first choice university. Maybe it’s something even simpler like your partner has discovered an amazing restaurant that sells their favourite

Read More

Everyone experiences negative emotions from time to time — this is totally normal. However, when negative emotions persist and become overwhelming, they can start to affect your mental and physical health. Fortunately, there’s a simple meditation technique you can use to help you let go of negative emotions. This technique

Read More

Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM) is a Buddhist-derived practice that teaches us to cultivate compassion, kindness and warmth toward ourselves and others. This technique can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, anger, fear, and pain. Based on the principle of metta, which roughly means “positive energy towards others”, this practice is often used

Read More
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>