Our relationship with nature is only, well, natural. We are intimately connected to Mother Nature, and going outside reminds us that we’re part of something much greater than ourselves, which is both humbling and enlightening.
“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.” – Bill Watterson
Make space in your daily life to venture out into the great outdoors—it’s good for your health, your work, your creativity, and your happiness.
5 Reasons Why Going Outside for You
1. Vitamin D is good for you.
I’ve written about the benefits of sunshine, and this is where Vitamin D, aka the “sunshine vitamin,” comes into play.
When sunlight meets bare skin, it sparks the creation of vitamin D, which we need for bone growth, cell growth, inflammation reduction, and neuromuscular and immune function.Sunshine is my shaman. Click To Tweet
Sensible sun exposure (about 10 to 15 minutes for most people) can help fight depression, heart attacks, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
2. Nature encourages movement.
It’s difficult to walk outside and not move around a little more. Walking itself has a beneficial effect on bone, cardiovascular, and brain health. Not only are we more likely to exercise by going outside, but we’re more likely to exert more energy exercising, enjoy it more, do it for a longer period of time, and look forward to future workouts.
Going outside involves taking a break from sitting on the couch or in front of the computer, which, for me, breathes new life and fresh air into my perspective. You may even consider walking barefoot more often (on natural surfaces, known as “grounding” or “earthing”) to soak up the good energy of the earth.
Go for a nature walk, hike, or swim. Grow a garden, plant something, and take time to watch the leaves fall. Stargaze and contemplate the wonder of the universe, or just let go of your thoughts for a little while.
3. Nature boosts brain function.
The busyness of the urban world demands busyness of the mind, and spending time in nature gives the brain a chance to recover from the chaos and refocus. By immersing our senses in the natural world, we give our brains a break from over stimulation.A healthy dose of nature clears a cluttered mind. Click To Tweet
Time outdoors has been linked to improved concentration in children, fewer reported symptoms of ADHD in children, enhanced creativity, and improved attention and memory. I find that when I’m feeling stuck on a project, going outside (even for a few minutes) refreshes my mind and gives me the energy I need to move past the blocks.
4. Nature helps you relax.
The patient serenity of nature balances the speed and chaos of modern life. There’s something about being in a natural setting that softens the edge of a stressful world. You can literally walk off depression and repel stress by stepping outside. If you need to calm your brain and soothe your senses, check into your natural environment.Nature is the cure for an artificial world. Click To Tweet
The Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to “forest bathing,” is a stress management practice that effectively lowers pulse rates, reduces blood pressure, lowers the stress hormone cortisol, and improves immune function. This form of nature therapy is used to treat anger, stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
5. Nature makes you happy.
If going outside makes you happy, count me in! Nature definitely has a positive influence on our mindset, maybe because we’re inclined to like things that are inherently good for our health and survival.
The findings of one study “suggest a happy path to sustainability, whereby contact with nature fosters individual happiness and environmentally responsible behavior.”
Forest bathing (mentioned in #4) is linked to increased activity in the areas of the brain responsible for empathy, emotional stability, and love.
Sunlight stimulates production of the brain’s mood-lifting chemical serotonin, which is a good step in a happy direction.
May we remember that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination to arrive at.
- How do you incorporate nature into your daily life?
- Do you go for walks, like to exercise outdoors, tend to a garden, or listen to the sounds of the seasons?
- What lessons have you learned by going outside?
Please share your thoughts, any benefits you’ve experienced, and your love for nature with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who loves going outside.
Don’t forget to look up.