Getting outside and exploring nature has been shown to reduce blood pressure, increase empathy, and improve moods. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that people who live in urban environments have higher levels of stress and anxiety. One way to combat this is by exploring nature. Taking a nature walk might be the last thing that you want to do on a rainy day, but the mental health benefits of being in nature are unbeatable.
The Positive Effects of Nature on Your Physical and Mental Health
Being out in nature has been found to reduce cortisol levels (a hormone released when the body is stressed) in the brain, which can help balance moods and emotions. Spending time outdoors also increases serotonin production, which promotes feelings of happiness and contentment. You will also be exercising, which is good for your brain and your heart. You will get a chance to exercise your lungs by breathing in the fresh air and you might even get some vitamin D from the sunlight.
Some of the best places to relax outdoors are in forests or near waterfalls because they have a calming effect on the mind and body. Think about all those apps and sound effects that replicate the sounds of rainforests, the beach, and so on.
Forest Bathing Can Do Wonders For Your Health and Wellness
Speaking of forests, a practice for relaxation and health is Forest Bathing. Also known as the Shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of spending time in forests to reduce stress, forest bathing is a practice that has been around for centuries and has been proven to have many benefits. It reduces stress and improves your mood. It also helps with depression and anxiety. Forest bathing can also improve your immune system and help you sleep better at night. When you are out there taking long walks in the forest, it is not just about the exercise, but also about breathing in the fresh air and rejuvenating your body and mind.
Surprisingly, research has found that having just a plant in a room can reduce stress and anxiety. Now just imagine that you have the whole outdoors in front of you to use as a place to escape the daily chaos and do something great for your mind and body. Just 120 minutes per week is shown to make a huge difference in your health and well-being. Give it a try and go out and start to feel the stresses of life melt away.