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How Intentionally Spending Time in Nature Improves Our Overall Well-Being

Updated: 5 days ago



forrest and bridge


Some of the best things in life are free. There is no cost to feel: the sunlight on your skin, the breeze of wind on your face, the smell of fragrant flowers, rain drops on your head, to hear the sounds of birds chirping, and to see squirrels being playful in the trees. In a world that is ever changing, and fast paced it is important to be present and ground ourselves with the nature that surrounds you. No matter where you are in the world, what season of the year it is, or what season of life you are in yourself, take the time to open the door and spend time outdoors. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 reminded humanity of the precious gift of being able to be outside. In this blog you will learn some of the natural benefits of being in nature for your physical & mental well-being, for growth in your cognitive ability, and how to incorporate nature within your own home. 

Benefits of Nature for Your Physical & Mental Well-Being

  • Vitamin D- While always being mindful to wear sunscreen, it is important to receive a healthy amount of sunlight each week to increase the body’s Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps our body’s: bones, immune system, blood cells, and the ability to absorb calcium.

  • Sleep Quality- Spending time outside improves the body’s sleep cycle. Our eyes need to be exposed to natural lighting to help our internal clock be able to sleep at night. 

  • Boosts the Immune System- When one is outdoors you have the opportunity to be exposed more to sunlight and to plants. Sunlight helps energize T-cells which is one of the body’s defense mechanisms to fight off infections. Plants release a substance called phytoncides which helps both plants and humans to fight off diseases.

  • Improves Mental Health- Doctors in Japan and Canada prescribe to their patients to spend time in nature. Humans are genetically hardwired for restoration in nature. For example, the brain fatigue that we all experience in our modern lives can be reduced by being more in contact with nature.  It’s never too late to begin spending time in nature. Some research has shown that individuals who began immersing themselves with nature for significant amounts of time before the age of 10 are able to reduce their risk for mental health concerns by fifty percent. People take a shower on a daily basis as part of their daily routine. The Japanese practice “shinrin-yoku” which is spending time in nature called “Forest Bathing.” Spending time in green spaces (ex. gardens, forests, mountains, etc.), and blue spaces (beaches, rivers, lakes, etc.) helps to boost our energy levels, reduce feelings of anxiety, and increase feelings of self-esteem.

 

waterfall at the lake

Growth in your Cognitive Ability 

  • Increases Ability to Focus- Studies have shown that when children living with ADHD were exposed to greenery they were better able to concentrate on a task after a walk in the park than they were after a walk through an urban area. Spending time in nature helps improve working memory (the ability to retain information), and cognitive flexibility (to be able to process information about at least two different subjects at the same time).

  • Fosters Problem Solving Skills- Spending time outdoors can help the mind to shift in thoughts patterns. By literally changing your physical space/scenery you are giving your mind the opportunity to open space and generate more ideas when approaching a challenge. 


Incorporate Nature within your Home 

Due to cold or rainy weather, health/mobility concerns, or one’s work schedule, individuals may not have the opportunity to spend as much time as they would like outside. Ways to compensate for barriers preventing one to spend more time outside is to bring nature indoors! 

  • Become a Plant Parent- In elderly homes, residents that were care-takers to plants sometimes lived longer lives and had less health concerns. Plants that thrive in homes are those that have: good exposure to sunlight, are spoken kindly too, and listen to relaxing music. Imagine that by giving plants tender-loving-care (TLC) we are giving both the plant and ourselves a gift. Having plants in your home also helps to purify the air. 

  • Decorate your Home with Nature Art- Having photographs and paintings of nature scenes has been demonstrated to lower an individual’s feelings of stress. 

  • Listening to Nature Sounds- Some of the benefits of listening to nature sounds include: feeling more relaxed, better ability to fall asleep, and can be beneficial when studying for an exam because it can improve cognitive performance. 


We hope that by reading this blog you have felt inspired or enticed to listen to nature’s call that beckons outside your window. Some famous people in American History who found joy, comfort, and inspiration in nature included: President Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller (oil tycoon), Thomas Edison (inventor), and Henry Ford (creator of Ford motors). In the words of John Muir, the father of national parks, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”


For more tips, please check out our other tips here https://www.plantationcounseling.com/blog. You can always find us at 954-903-1676 for counseling services.



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