Humans were made to live in harmony with nature. Unfortunately, this relationship has deteriorated due to rapid damage to the environment, obsession with technology and the fear of the unknown, which makes people avoid outdoors.
Scientific research over the years has shown incredible positive effects of taking a nature walk. Listed below are some therapeutic effects:
Inflammation is the body’s natural process which responds to damage, whether by an injury or by pathogens. Inflammation goes away by itself, however, if it goes into overdrive, it can cause autoimmune disorders, cancer, depression, and many other ills. Spending time outdoors can help you reduce inflammation and deal with several inflammation-related illnesses.
Improved short-term memory
Taking time in nature helps to refresh the mind, thereby enabling you to absorb more information.
Outdoor recreation is known to reduce stress. A common type of therapy, which is called forest therapy, is known to decrease cortisol levels and heart rate. The therapy involves spending time in the forest regularly. Lower levels of cortisol help lower stress levels.
Restoring mental energy
Every one of us reaches a point where he or she feels as if the brain is grinding to a halt, this is what mental researchers call mental fatigue. One of the things that can restore the mind back to working order is the taking a walk outdoors. Nature energizes the brain to start functioning fast, eliciting feelings of clam and feeling refreshed.
A walk in nature can help restore your waning attention. If you have been working for long hours, there are chances that your ability to focus may wane. If you reach this stage, take a walk outdoors and relax your mind for a bit. You will notice a better ability to focus and increased concentration in your work. Experts encourage regular breaks after just a few hours of working.
Enhance creativity and sharper thinking
Nature activates the creative part of the brain. Nature also sharpens your thinking and enables you to get more analytical when dealing with challenges and helps to evaluate opportunities.
There is a proven link between a longer lifespan and green space. People who live in greener areas all tend to be happier, healthier and live longer. Common lifestyle diseases are less prevalent, there seems to be an abundance of essential nutrients, and the residents seem to live more satisfying lives. This is one reason why people in rural areas tend to live longer than people in urban areas.
Do you want to live longer, happier and perform better in school or at work? Make it a habit of taking nature walks regularly.
Polly Sykes, Registered Psychotherapist, MEd, RP, is a Toronto Psychotherapist with extensive post-graduate training and experience in the treatment of Trauma, and the use of Emotion-Focused Therapy for both Individuals and Couples. The support of an experienced and highly-skilled Psychotherapist can be a powerful tool to help you face the challenges of life with more hope, more self-acceptance, and stronger relational bonds.