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How Spending Time in Nature Benefits Your Mental Health

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

With our busy lives and hectic schedules, getting some much-needed 'me-time' with mother nature may seem daunting. Researchers have recently found that we receive 227 unique benefits from nature. It is easy to consider enjoying the outdoors unnecessary or unimportant as other things on our to-do list beg our attention.


However, an escape or reset in nature can be as, if not more, important than anything else on our list. Time in nature can help us prioritize appropriately and put us in the best mindset to complete our tasks while keeping us healthy to do what we must.


Benefits of spending time in  nature
Jamie Street x Unsplash

Benefits of Nature


Many studies have been published worldwide on the benefits of sunshine, fresh air, being in beautiful locales, or just being around landscape pictures and paintings. Of course, measuring the nonmaterial dimensions of human-nature relations takes a lot of work. However, the theme is the same. Getting in nature is good for the mind, body, and soul.


One study showed that simply being near a window with a natural setting during the healing processes not only did the patients have a shorter postoperative hospital stay, but they also received more positive assessments from nurses and took fewer drugs than those who did not.



Some reported benefits include increased feelings of calmness, increased endorphin levels, and dopamine production, which promotes happiness. Also, a higher capacity for concentration and attention, lessened feelings of anxiety and depression, reduced irritability, and reduced feelings of isolation have been recorded. In addition, after spending time in nature, many people had lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels (stress hormone).


Being outside benefits your health.
Jamie Street x Unsplash

How to Gain These Precious Benefits


The most notable benefits come from being immersed in the environment. Soaking up the smells, sounds, and fresh air of nature helps our bodies and mind recenter and recharge.


Spending at least 120 hours per week of direct exposure to nature has improved overall health and well-being. These benefits top out between 200 and 300 minutes per week. To get the maximum advantages of nature, one should spend between 30 and 45 minutes outside daily.


However, You do not necessarily have to escape to a location deep into some forest paradise to gain these benefits. Studies show even indirect exposure to nature can be beneficial. For example, try working next to a panoramic window or placing a beautiful landscape theme near where you spend most of your indoor time.



Ideas for Implementing Nature Daily

  • Care for a garden: whether in your yard, a container garden, or a community garden.

  • Try bird watching.

  • Go fruit picking at a local farm.

  • Find a beautiful space and get creative. Whether you like reading, writing, painting, or capturing photography, a stunning location can help get those brain juices flowing.

  • Go star gazing; you can use free apps to identify stars and constellations or take advantage of an event like an eclipse or meteor shower.

  • Enjoy your meals outside.

  • Join a bicycling, skating, walking, or hiking group.

  • Beachcomb or search the forest for curious finds.

  • Do litter pick-ups.

  • Volunteer for conservation projects.

  • Build an animal habitat.

  • Go skiing, sledding, or snowshoeing.

  • Visit yard sales to find items to upcycle, then complete the project outside.

  • Walk your furry friend or a friend's fur-baby. You could turn it into a side gig through an app like Rover!

  • Hang an animal feeder outside a window.

  • Bring nature indoors with plants, flowers, or even a mini zen garden.

  • Practice Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing).

  • Stand outside and enjoy the sunrise or sunset.


Watching the sunset helps your mental health
Thomas Bennie x Unsplash

So, Step out!


The benefits of spending more time in nature are undeniable. There are many options of activities you can choose from to create positive new routines and add accountability to keep you active and engaged in getting that much-needed time in the beautiful outdoors.


You do not need to travel far or struggle to fit something else into your busy life. Instead, you gain these nature benefits in as little as 15-30 minutes a day.


Changing the location of everyday activities like exercising outside or eating outdoors can positively impact your mental and physical health. In addition, you may find a new passion or hobby while doing some good for yourself!




 

Holtarian is your ultimate go-to source for all of your holistic lifestyle needs & curiosities. Health-conscious and environmentally-conscious people from around the world can enjoy all of the information and resources this platform offers!

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