Chances are you heard it when you were a child, someone telling you to get up and go outside for a while. Whether from a well-meaning parent or a teacher, you probably connected that idea with exercise and the health benefits of spending time out of the house. But did you know that there are many mental and emotional health benefits in getting back to nature?
1. You feel less stress. Spending time in green spaces, whatever the case, has been shown to lower your blood pressure. Your heart beats slower, and even your respirations become more even and natural. In short, your body relaxes, and the effects of stress fades away. The good news? The effects are long-lasting. Studies have shown that spending time in a forest on the weekend helps lower stress levels for up to 7 days following the event.
2. You feel more alert. If you frequently find yourself trapped in brain fog, the quickest way to clear your head might be to step outside. Finding a green space – a quick walk in a park or trek out to the country – leaves you feeling alert.
3. You’re better able to cope. When you’re dealing with depression or anxiety getting outside can seem a little daunting. But if you can give yourself that extra push to get out the door, your body will thank you for it. It’s a proven fact that the effects of both depression and fatigue both dramatically improve when you’re able to spend time in nature.
4. Your focus improves. Feeling overwhelmed at work and unable to think? Try a nature break on the weekend. Remember, spending some significant time enjoying nature over the weekend has a long-lasting impact, as mentioned above. So that long hike on Saturday might be what you need to focus better in the week ahead.
5. You become more creative. Nature inspires you to think out of the box. A rather interesting study that had people spend time outside for four days found that they performed 50% better on creative problem-solving challenges afterward.
With the mental and emotional health benefits of spending time outside so obvious, it’s no wonder our parents wanted us to get outside when we were kids (and you thought they were trying to get rid of you!). With so much good in store for you, isn’t it time you got out of the house?