Did you know you can improve your mental health through nature? Have you ever gone out into nature and felt calmer and more relaxed? You’re not alone. Many people turn to nature for its soothing effects.
The calmness of nature goes beyond a feeling. It is proven to have stress-relieving benefits. This article will explain why it may be your answer for improving mental health.
How Does Nature Improve Mental Health?
Research has proven nature’s ability to improve mental health on various levels. A 2013 study showed that exposure to public, natural spaces promotes emotional well-being in young adolescents. It relieves irritability, tension headaches, insomnia, and indigestion.
The Department of Environmental Conservation reviewed numerous studies showing nature’s benefits to mental health. The organization notes that outdoor environments can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve mood
- Boost the immune system
- Increase focus
- Help with ADHD symptoms
- Accelerate recovery from surgery and illness
The stress-relieving properties of nature are so powerful that the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries coined the term ‘shinrin-yoku’ or ‘forest-bathing.’ It describes taking in the forest atmosphere to improve emotional health.
Managing stress: The effects nature produces are scientifically proven to manage stress. A 2014 study showed that spending time in green spaces reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It boosts endorphins and dopamine levels that promote happiness. Just a few minutes in nature relieves muscle tension, lowers blood pressure, and produces positive changes in brain activity.
Better sleep: Nature’s soothing characteristics may also be beneficial to sleep. It relieves stress which may contribute to better sleep duration and quality. The greenness may also buffer noise which would otherwise disturb sleep.
Cognitive function: Stuck in a creative rut? Nature helps this as well. It may enhance creativity, promote new ideas, flexible thinking, and improve focus.
How to Improve Mental Health Through Nature
There are several ways to escape to nature to improve your mental health. Here are a few suggestions.
Bring in Natural Light
Natural light is beneficial to well-being. This theory is particularly true of sunlight. Sunlight has both red and infrared light and these increase vitamin D production in the body. Increased vitamin D reduces feelings of depression and anxiety and boosts sleep quality.
In addition to opening your shades to let in natural light, you should also go out and expose yourself to the sun’s rays, ideally for 30-45 minutes. Doing so will activate hormones (most notably serotonin) that are beneficial to emotional well-being.
Walking through different nature spaces offers a variety of beneficial effects. A leafy green space will make you feel energized and positive. Beaches and other waterfront spaces provide a sense of tranquility.
Bring Nature to Your Space
You may not be able to get out into nature, but you can bring it inside. For example, you can bring plants into your office space. The greenery will boost endorphins and add a sense of calm to your work area.
Searching for a nature screen or using a nature-themed screensaver will take your mind off your stress.
Another simple and effective way to bring nature to your space is by simply opening a window and letting in some fresh air, sunlight, and the sounds of nature.
Exercise in Fresh Air
Exercise is beneficial to health as it increases serotonin levels in the body. It’s even better if you exercise outdoors. A nature workout will increase feelings of serenity. Try activities like hiking, outdoor yoga, and the like.
Engage Your Senses
You will benefit even more from your outdoor experience if you are mindful of your activities. Mindfulness requires you to be in the moment. It allows you to focus on what’s around you. Breathe in deeply to inhale the fresh aromas. Pause and listen to nature sounds and rushing water to further promote relaxation.
Book a Camping Trip
A camping trip is a great way to get away from it all. Immerse yourself in nature for a few days to enjoy the ultimate health benefits.
Meditating is ideal for stress relief. It is even more effective if you meditate in an outdoor environment. Meditating outdoors activates the senses; increasing alertness, wakefulness, wisdom, and perception. Many meditators prefer meditating in nature because they find it easier to let go of their worries outdoors. It also allows them to escape distractions like electronic devices.
How Hanu Health Can Help You Achieve Your Stress-Relieving Goals
If you are looking for ways to relieve stress, Hanu Health can help. Hanu Health is the first data-driven platform for mental health monitoring and coaching. It provides real-time feedback on how life events impact stress resilience.
As you can see, a combination of methods will help you lower stress. Technological tools like Hanu Health and the power of nature can work together to improve your emotional health. Let Hanu help you discover your ultimate zen.