So, you're having an emotional episode and are stressed out of your mind. What does your spouse tell you? "Go outside for some fresh air and take a walk, you will feel better." First of all, they just didn't say that, and how childish, right? Nevertheless, they were onto something. While walking in the crisp air that night, the moon was hovering above the tree lines and the stillness took over. The heart rate dropped and the mind became a place of tranquility. This is more than an exclusive account. People are finding that nature can do miracles and they sure can use it. We are popping pills to cope with depression and stress at alarming rates in America. The National Center for Health Statistics found that "13 percent of people 12 and older said they took an antidepressant in the last month. That number is up from 11 percent in 2005-2008." Between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008 there was a 400 percent increase of people relying on medication for their mental health. Consider the following ways nature can turn the tide on your stress.
It reduces anger.A study at the University of Illinois found that people have a stronger connection with others and became more supportive of neighbors when communities in the inner city had more green space in a mentally fatiguing environment. "It seemed valuable to take a look at whether green areas in Chicago would make a difference in levels of mental fatigue," researcher Frances Kuo found. The study also observed crime lessened, strife was less and there was a decrease in domestic violence.
It helps lower blood pressure.Just a 30-minute walk can lower your blood pressure. Visits to outdoor green spaces of 20-30 minutes could reduce the prevalence of depression by up to 7 percent and high blood pressure by 9 percent. Walking to a park and adding more green space to your life can reduce the prevalence of apprehension. A study led by The University of Queensland (UQ) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) suggested people need to be in nature if they want to combat the stresses of life. "We've known for a long time that visiting parks is good for our health, but we are now beginning to establish exactly how much time we need to spend in parks to gain these benefits," researcher Dr. Danielle Shanahan said.
It calms the mind.Author C.S. Lewis understood that nature offers a natural calming effect from the craziness of life. "Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world; and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, and then farewell to nature as fare as one of our senses is concerned.” A natural environment will allow you to refocus and go to a place that is more serene. When we can center the mind, we become calmer. Nature is one of the places that immediately can bring us to a better and to a deeper sense of peace. Start to breathe slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth during your visit to the park or when you're walking outside. When you return home, you may notice the mind and the body have grown more restful. If you can't get outside, look out a window to observe nature from there to enjoy the benefits.
It makes you happy.When in nature you will stop your inward brooding and discover there is a bigger world out there. There is a beauty that surrounds you that has been taken for granted. Maybe you don’t feel enough appreciation from your spouse or feel overlooked. Nature can put things back into perspective. Observe the birds in the morning and how they sing and are content. They seem to be happy and the natural world grants us the same opportunity. Gregory Bratman, of Stanford University, did a study before and after a scenic walk, the participants assessed their emotional state and they found those who walked in nature experienced less anxiety. When participants spent 4 days in a natural setting, without technology, the surrounding natural setting allowed them to bring a "Wide range of cognitive resources to bear when asked to engage in a task that requires creativity and complex convergent problem-solving." Give Mother Nature a chance to make you sing again.
It boosts the immune system damaged by stress.Trees can help improve the immune system impacted by stress. People who suffer from chronic or long-term stress can experience more colds and other illnesses. The weakened immune system caused by stress can also lead to cancer and heart disease. Exposure to forests helps us fight diseases because they have antibacterial and antifungal qualities that are emitted into the air. "When people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells," Forest Therapy of the Americas reported. If you can't make it to a forest, a local park in the community will also do.
Don't be afraid to get out there plant, go camping, take a walk or a hike to access more green space. Take a break from electronics and check out a local park or lake when there is little activity and allow yourself to become still. Use this as a form of meditation to fight stress. Finally, really examine what can be taken off of your plate so you can avoid any overwhelming feelings of stress. We work hard to shield themselves from nature, and its elements. Embracing it from time-to-time is necessary for our overall well-being.