Ever caught yourself feeling a sense of euphoria while sauntering along a serene beach or embarking on a picturesque trail hike? You’re not alone. That’s nothing but the healing touch of Mother Nature at work. Interestingly, research attests to the transformative power of these experiences, suggesting that absorbing Mother Nature’s splendors for a mere 120 minutes can significantly bolster your well-being. Matthew White from the University of Exeter spearheaded a study involving 20,000 people and found that spending two hours weekly in nature, whether in one stretch or sprinkled across several visits, linked to better health and mental wellbeing. White explained that two hours a week is a realistic target that can be spread over an entire week to reap the benefits.
It Relieves Stress
Stress affects everyone, whether you’re young or old. While some of us can find ways to cope with it, dealing with constant stress can take a toll on our overall well-being. Not only can it result in anxiety or depression, but it can also affect your professional life. Studies have shown that stressful working conditions are associated with tardiness, absenteeism, and lack of employee engagement. Some employees deal with stress by smoking, drinking, or engaging in other activities that can be harmful to their health. Doing so can have a negative impact on wellbeing, so choose positive ways to cope with daily challenges. For instance, try going for a walk in the park to clear your mind, or spend some time in a botanical garden.
According to a Harvard study, spending 20 minutes connecting with nature can help lower stress hormone levels. This is the reason why some brands and organizations have started incorporating greenery into their landscape design to boost morale and have a happy and healthy workplace. So the next time you’re feeling frustrated or anxious at work, find a nature setting near your workplace and spend some time there to decompress.
It Reduces Pain
It is estimated that about 50 million adults in the US experience chronic pain. Taking medication and therapy can help manage pain and increase mobility. However, if you want a more enjoyable and natural way to reduce pain, consider spending time in green spaces. In a study of adults with chronic pain living in New York City, it was found that those who spent time in nearby nature experienced reduced pain intensity. Moreover, being in nature decreased worry and fear due to anticipated pain.
Combined with exercise, nature therapy can be utilized as a powerful, holistic tool in pain management. Try walking or hiking on an easy trail, or go forest bathing at the edge of the woods. You can also go fishing on the lake, or do gentle exercises in the garden. Finding an activity that you enjoy doing outdoors can help to lessen pain and improve your quality of life.
It Makes You Happy
Most of us are dealing with painful life events, ongoing struggles, or trauma that make it so difficult to be happy. Little treats, such as the occasional shopping spree, a fun night out with friends, or a holiday in a posh destination, may give us transient pleasure. But in order to have true, sustainable happiness, your heart and mind should be in a state of peace and well-being, as well as contentment in all aspects of your life.
Surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care about you, doing things you enjoy, and cultivating appreciation for your blessings, no matter how little they may seem, will set you on the path toward happiness. Being in nature can also evoke positive emotions, such as joy and calmness, and it may help to reduce anger and fear. You may also find that nature can enhance creativity, which can lead to happiness, since evidence shows that engaging in creative pursuits can boost mood. The next time you’re down, spend a day at the beach, go camping, or plant colorful flowers in your garden. You may be surprised at how much better you’ll feel while engaging with nature.
Being in nature can restore the heart, body, and mind. For a healthier, happier you, consider spending more time in the natural world and see how it transforms your life for the better.