When we feel stuck or bored, we may turn to unhealthy alternatives like eating junk food or spending too much time in front of a screen. However, one of the easiest and most effective solutions is stepping outside. Spending time outdoors has a multitude of health benefits, both physically and mentally. I'm here to give you three reasons to start spending more time outside and feeling better in your day-to-day.
Nature relieves stress
Our lives are busy, no doubt. Whether you're a college student running to class or a parent racing to work, we are always off to our next activity. The responsibilities feel endless and there never seems to be enough time in the day. When we feel like this, we may forget to take a much-needed break.
During the times when life gets stressful and all our chores start piling up, we may begin to feel defeated or anxious. We may risk hurting our mental health by partaking in unhealthy activities that have no real end goal. For example, watching yet another YouTube video may help in the short-term, but that added screen time can hurt more than your eyes.
An effective solution is spending time in nature, which will help alleviate these anxious or defeated feelings and instead make you feel more comfortable. In fact, nature helps to reduce blood pressure and heart rate as well as the production of stress hormones.However, the weather may become an obstacle for those living in places with harsh temperatures. If you can't walk outside every day because of severe weather, consider getting a house plant or pictures with nature scenes, which can produce some of the same effects.
Nature restores purpose
Sometimes we fall into ruts that hurt our capacity to create. We can't generate new ideas or become the next great American novelist in this way, after all. If we are feeling stuck, nature can reverse this. Due to the healing process of the outdoors, our mood can be dramatically lifted and we may experience feelings of vitality and meaningfulness.
Nature also helps us pay attention. As humans, we pay attention to those things we find interesting due to our two-second attention span. Because nature classifies as interesting, our overactive minds can relax and just be. Slowing our minds gives us an opportunity to reevaluate where we are in life and what our purpose is.
Nature deepens relationships
We may feel great about our relationships in life. Our friends and partners are loyal and our family is reliant. However, nature allows us to take these relationships a step further.
Nature helps us form and deepen relationships. The results from a University of Chicago study found that those living in Chicago public housing who had trees near them reported stronger feelings of unity and belonging. Additionally, taking a walk around a trail or nature path with a friend or loved one can boost connection and conversation.
Nature also reduces violence because of a better capacity to cope with life's stressors. When people feel like their lives are under control, they can limit hostility and feelings of bitterness, which in turn, uplifts one's self-esteem and mental health. This is a small and effective way to curb violence.
Ultimately, the outdoors is a fantastic place to be. The number of benefits nature provides can outweigh the costs and leave you feeling healthier and happier. Now, consider spending more time outside and notice the positive effects. It is well worth it.