Many people are unaware of all the incredible benefits connecting with nature has on our physical, emotional, and mental health. Our environment has such an impact on the way we think and feel. We often get wrapped up in our daily responsibilities, spending much of our day indoors. Here are some reasons you should make it a daily habit to reconnect with nature to promote an overall healthier well-being.
It’s no secret that exercise is so important for both our physical health and also our mental health. Getting out in nature often involves some form of exercise. Depending on your lifestyle, exercise could be more strenuous such as hiking or cycling, but it could even be as simple as walking in a park. Exercise reduces stress hormones and also boosts those feel-good ones, improving your overall mental state.
Being in nature allows us to focus on the present, allowing us to be more mindful. Mindfulness involves paying attention to your feelings and experiences in the moment. Involve all of your senses and really be aware of your surroundings. Feel the sun on your face, smell a flower, listen to the wind rustle through the trees, and take in the scenery. These multi-sensory experiences promote a sense of calm and restored. Mindfulness has many proven benefits on our mental health including easing stress and anxiety, reducing symptoms of depression, and teaches us to be less reactive making it easier to regulate our emotions.
Spending too much time indoors in artificial light isn’t good for our sleep cycles. Poor quality of sleep can have a negative influence on our mental health Spending time outdoors and being exposed to a healthy amount of natural sunlight can regulate your circadian rhythm, improving your sleep cycle and quality of sleep. If you’re exercising while in outdoors, that will also help improve your sleep so you can wake up feeling energized.
Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
The natural sunlight not only helps us get healthier sleep, but it can also boost our mood thanks to vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is common in many mood disorders including depression. A lack of vitamins D explains why some people experience seasonal depression in the colder months. Getting outside into nature during the day will promote you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamin D to boost your mood. Connecting with nature has great therapeutic benefits, but researchers aren’t completely sure where all the benefits come from. Studies in ecotherapy have found a strong link between nature and a decrease in stress and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Interpersonal relationships are incredibly important for our personal development and overall well-being. Getting involved in activities in nature gives you countless opportunities to engage in group activities with like-minded people. Doing activities outdoors also encourages you to disconnect from your technology and connect with nature and others around you. Creating strong social connections will ease feelings of loneliness and give you a sense of belonging which is vital for your overall mental health.
Spending time in nature has countless benefits for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Getting outdoors should be something you incorporate into your daily routine. Connecting with nature will help you create healthy lifestyle habits that promote an overall happier and healthier you. However, if you are experiencing high levels of stress or mental health concerns it could be beneficial to speak to a professional. A licensed therapist can provide support and strategies to improve your mental health and overall well-being. Click here for advice on other ways to improve your mental health.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.