Are you feeling stressed out? Spread too thin? Try spending time in nature for some relaxation and stress relief. Being in the presence of nature can have a positive effect on your psychological, physical and emotional well-being (Reese & Myers, 2012). Studies have shown that people in the hospital who have access to a window with a view of nature have faster recovery times and require less medication than those who have a view of a brick wall (Ulrich, 1984). Being in nature has even been touted to help with Attention Deficit Disorder, as written in New York Times blog post , A ‘Dose of Nature’ for Attention Problems. It is thought that nature can restore your ability to re-focus your attention, which is why after a walk in the park you feel more invigorated and recharged.
With our busy lives it can be challenging to stop and “smell the roses” so to speak. But even taking a small amount of time out of your day can help significantly with your well-being and stress level. If you are having a tough day at work, take a 10 minute break in the garden or park and be aware of the nature around you. On weekends explore your local area for some relaxing hikes. Try to take the kids to the park and enjoy the scenery of the outdoors. When you are in nature try to be present. Notice the colors of the landscape, the briskness of the air, the sounds of the birds, and the texture of the grass. All of these things can help improve your well-being. If you live in the city, would you be willing to put plants on your porch to help bring nature into your home?
Speaking of the benefits of nature is nothing new. Even popular figures like Oprah have discussed the health benefits of nature. However, many of us forget what is in our own backyards and continue on our busy ways without appreciating the natural beauty around us. I am asking you not to forget the beautiful world around you, and to remember when you are feeling down or stressed to take advantage of what nature has to offer to improve your well-being.