The Benefits of Spending Time in Nature
"Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function" - Richard Louv
When was the last time you took yourself out for a walk with no other purpose than to just be outside? Maybe this question feels silly, but taking time for yourself to focus on your well-being tends to take a backseat to long to-do lists and life's mundane but often necessary tasks. If you've ever felt stuck in a rut, burnt out, overwhelmed — insert how you're feeling here — then taking a nature break needs to move up on your priority list. If you're already taking time to regularly get outside, keep it up!
Whether it's strolling through a park, basking in the sun like a house plant, or watching the clouds gracefully float across the sky, spending time in nature is like hitting the reset button for your mind and body. You don't need to have a grand activity planned to walk away feeling refreshed, re-inspired, and grounded.
A study led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter found that spending time in natural environments can benefit health and well-being. With almost 20,000 participants examined in the study, they "found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces—local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits—were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. (White 2019; Robbins 2020)
Time in nature can serve as "an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood." (White 2019; Robbins 2020)
We encourage you to make getting outside part of your routine and to move it closer to the top of your to-do list. Replace the sound of email and text notifications with the sounds of birds chirping, the ocean crashing, or the wind whistling through trees. Retreat to a space that makes you feel grounded. When you're back, you'll have energy, thoughts, creativity, and motivation to take on the rest of the day.
White, M.P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J. et al. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Sci Rep9, 7730 (2019).
Jim Robbins • January 9. (n.d.). Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health. Yale E360.