Benefits of Being Outdoors
There is a growing body of research linking more time in nature with stress reduction. But it shouldn’t take science to convince you that a little time outside can make you feel better. Unless you suffer from allergies in the spring (see our post on how to overcome allergies naturally), chances are you already know how you feel after being outdoors.
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If not, carve out fifteen minutes of your day and learn how a nature walk could benefit you.
A Natural High
Generations of brilliant minds, naturalists and authors have documented the many benefits of spending time in nature. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), an American author, naturalist, and philosopher best known for his book Walden, celebrated the therapeutic effects of nature by saying, “I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”
Nature has played an integral role in the quest for happiness and personal fulfillment of many other historical figures as well, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir and Charles Darwin. Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), acclaimed architect and philosopher, advised, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
Being in nature also provides a sense of connectedness, meaning, and purpose. There is a sense of chaotic order in the way nature works; the plants and animals are interconnected in a series of complex relationships. Everything coexists in nature without the necessity of outside intervention. It is a system that has existed successfully since the beginning of time, which provides a sense of structure, coherence, and reliability for those wise enough to use nature as a model for life. Realizing that human beings are an essential component of this larger structure can supply a sense of purpose and belonging.
More than 100 research studies have shown that outdoor recreation reduces stress. By observing the ever-changing environments in nature, individuals find renewed attention, mindfulness, and sensory awareness.
Outdoor settings foster for activity rather than sedentary lifestyle which is in direct opposition to health and wellness. In fact, research suggests outdoor exercise has even more beneficial effect than indoor exercise.
A Nature-Deprived Youth Culture
American children have been deprived of quality playtime outdoors and as a result are overweight, less physically competent. The great outdoors stimulate children’s imaginations and creativity, and playing outdoors enhances cognitive flexibility, problem-solving ability, and self-discipline.
From my experience with my 2 year old, she can have one of her “freak out” tantrums, but if I take her outside in nature she calms down and completely changes her mood. She becomes happy and joyful. It works… try it!