Ever noticed how good you feel after you’ve spent time in nature, perhaps a garden, park, forest or the bush? Well you’re not the only one. Scientists have recently proved that the more time we spend in nature, the healthier we’re likely to be, physically, mentally and emotionally. So what’s going on there?
Sunlight boosts our stores of Vitamin D, which strengthens our immune system and helps combat all sorts of diseases, including cancer, high blood pressure, ADHD and depression. Spending time in the sun also helps to regulate our body clock, which tells us when it’s time to eat, sleep, etc; so if you’re feeling down or suffering from insomnia, a little time outside may do the trick.
Natural scents, sights and sounds cause electrochemical changes in our brain and body that reduce anxiety, improve our concentration, help us heal faster from injuries and once again boost our immune system. We also breathe better when we’re surrounded by plants, with all that oxygen floating around, which wakes us up on every level and reminds us of the joy and privilege of being alive.
Nature creates a space that allows us to put our busy brains and lives aside for a while, so we can simply be present with ourselves and our surroundings. Part of that is getting away from technology and the constant need to be available and in touch, so be sure to switch off your phone while you’re out in the fresh air.
Basically, although we don’t yet understand all the reasons why, nature makes us happy and healthy. As little as five minutes spent in a green space can make a huge difference, so make time regularly to take a walk in a park, work or sit in a garden (or even amongst pot plants) or ride through a green belt. A longer hike or weekend away in nature is even better. However much time out you take, you’ll come back feeling restored, relaxed and energised – a winning combination!