Being out and about in nature is beneficial to our physical and mental health. A growing number of studies have shown that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier people.
We’ve put together some of the key benefits of a more active, outdoor lifestyle to help you enjoy nature and its benefits.
Nature decreases your stress levels
Scientists believe that we evolved to be more relaxed in natural spaces. Studies provide evidence that being in natural spaces, or even looking out of a window onto a natural scene, somehow relieves stress and soothes our minds.
Being out in the open can encourage our creative flow. Being surrounded by nature’s beauty helps stimulate our brains by restoring depleted attention circuits i.e; mental fatigue or burnout.
Normalises our sleep schedule
Getting the recommended dose of sunlight can help you feel refreshed and relaxed by helping your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that controls your body’s internal clock. And the right amount of it ensures you have a good night’s sleep.
Helps you disconnect from the digital world
Being in nature allows you to take a step back from electronic communications. You’re not on your emails, your phone or social media – it’s just you and the big outdoors. Multi-tasking with electronic devices is a leading cause of stress, says the University of California.
Oxygen affects your sense of well-being
Levels of oxygen in your brain are tied to levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects your mood, appetite, memory and social behaviour. Too little serotonin and you can feel depressed – breathing in fresh air can help regulate serotonin levels and promote happiness and wellbeing.
Physical activity gives you endorphins
If you’re exercising, you’ll no doubt be spending a lot of time outdoors i.e; running, cycling or walking. Exercise triggers the production of the endorphins in the brain. With increased levels of this hormone you’ll feel clear-headed and more relaxed.
Nature helps to centre your mind
Leaving your troubles and worries behind and heading into nature can do some serious good for your mind and mental health. Taking a walk in the outdoors or just sitting in the park on a sunny evening can help you leave the stresses of everyday life behind, helping to focus your mind on something more pure.