spend time in nature

Heal from within: How spending time in nature impacts your mental health

Whether you call it forest bathing, eco-therapy, green time or the wildness cure, as long as you are spending time in nature, you will benefit from it.
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Nature is magical. For our eyes, it gives a visual treat of stillness and tranquillity. For our minds, it gives a sense of calmness and quiet that heal our emotional scars with its therapeutic touch. Whether you call it forest bathing, eco-therapy, green time or the wildness cure, spending time in nature can benefit us in more ways than we can imagine. According to a study, people who spent two hours a week in green spaces such as parks, woodlands or beaches, reported having better health and wellbeing.

Spending time in nature is like doing meditation with open eyes and moving legs. You just have to breathe, meander at your own pace, and let nature do what it does best. Heal. So, if you’ve been feeling down lately, stressed out, sluggish, or maybe wondering where your life is headed? Get out of the house and step into the sunshine. If you want, invite a loved one or a friend to join you who can use the therapeutic healing of nature just like you do.

Let’s take a closer look into how nature works and a few mental health benefits it offers.

Boosts your mood

Have you ever sat on a bench in a green park when you were upset or annoyed? If yes, you must have felt a sense of calmness sweeping over you as if a load has been lifted from your shoulders. This is because being in nature helped you overcome negative feelings such as anger or fear and replaced them with a sense of calm. According to American Psychological Association, “contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, subjective well-being, positive affect, positive social interactions and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, as well as decreases in mental distress.”

Reduces anxiety and stress

In times like today, it hardly comes as a surprise when you hear people talking about their struggles. How stressful their lives have become and how anxious they are about the future. And the more you feel stressed and anxious, the worse your mental health becomes. It is therefore of utmost importance that you take the necessary measures to overcome these issues. A growing body of research suggests that an effective way of improving your mental health might be something as simple as spending some time outdoors. A study found that “as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can help college students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress.”

Improves attention span

Spending time in nature makes us feel alive from the inside. The fresh air, chirping of birds, clear skies, the sunlight—we notice every little thing when we are out taking a walk in the woods. In short, we become more mindful of our surroundings, which can help increase our attention span. The study, The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature found, “walking in nature or viewing pictures of nature can improve directed-attention abilities.”

Increases confidence

For many, nature is an escape from the stress and craziness of everyday life. This being said, nature can not only heal you from within but can also turn you into a confident person. Research by the UCL Institute of Education found that “79% of children felt more confident in themselves having spent time participating in outdoor activities.” Researchers examined 451 children who took part in outdoor activities such as identifying plants and trees in different parts of England. So, even if you are feeling mentally sound, find some time every day to spend in nature.

Encourages you to exercise

Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the best ways to improve your wellbeing quotient. As per the above-mentioned studies, it can lower stress and improve your mood while encouraging physical activity. When you are in the park or any other green space, you must have seen people walking, jogging or even exercising. Why? Because being in nature makes them feel refreshed and revived, and they don’t want to let go of this feeling. In short, spending time in nature is a win-win for your body and your mind.

Improves quality of sleep

Whether you are sitting quietly on a bench in a park or camping in a forest, nature never stops working its magic on you, healing you slowly from within. If you have trouble sleeping at night, spending time in nature can improve your quality of sleep too. When you are out in nature, you soak up the sunlight which allows your body to better regulate your sleep pattern, which helps improve sleep quality. According to research in WebMD, “a week of winter camping reset the body’s “clock” to be more in tune with nature’s light-and-dark cycle. The result was longer sleep.”

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