Things you experience in the nature
Nature is an essential aspect of life on Earth. Without its balance, man and his co-inhabitants will fail to exist. According to the Oxford Dictionary, nature is defined as the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.
As individuals, we sometimes feel the need to get away from the bustle and harsh stimuli of everyday life which tends to get overwhelming.
A simple hike through a serene mountain trail, a trip to a lake or a favourite beach, being surrounded by natural green plants, trees, and even animals can go a long way to help an individual feel more grounded and in sync with his or her surroundings.
Spending ample time outdoors has also been linked to several physical and psychological benefits. Here are five things you stand to gain from being in nature:
Studies have shown that spending a considerable amount of time in a safe natural area (for example the forest) can help reduce stress and blood pressure in humans. Spending time in peaceful, beautiful environments improves your mood and helps you relax, thereby reducing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol. It also reduces negative feelings of anxiety, worry and anger and instead enables you to feel happy and content.
Improves productivity and creativity
Nature itself is a creative process, hence, being in nature has been linked to enhanced productivity and creativity in people. It not only helps relieve stress and mental cloudiness that impedes productivity but also provides inspiration and new ideas. By soothing the mind, boosting attention span and helping the brain focus, nature helps improve and stimulate brain function as well as memory.
Take for instance, the fact that one of the greatest discoveries of man -gravity, was discovered outdoors in nature. Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity while sitting under a tree contemplating the forces of nature by watching an apple fall to the ground.
In addition to this, research has also shown that being in nature can help to remove creative blocks by helping to create a sense of ‘time abundance’ that combats the pressure that comes with the need to meet deadlines.
There is a popular saying, “Life hurts, Nature heals”. Spending time in nature improves bodily functions such as increased immunity, eyesight, and a reduced risk of developing chronic inflammation that has been associated with a variety of health problems ranging from autoimmune disorders to depression and even cancer.
Being outdoors in the early morning sun also supplies the body with Vitamin D, an important hormone required by the body for its physiologic processes such as bone formation, hormone production, neuron signalling, etc.
Additionally, research has shown that being outdoors more often can also help lower your blood pressure. Nitric oxide -a vasodilator produced by the body- responds to the sun’s rays and in turn dilates the blood vessels, resulting in a decrease in blood pressure. This helps to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Furthermore, spending time in natural and green places helps to reduce the risk of developing respiratory tract infections such as asthma. Plants produce oxygen which human beings breathe in hence, there is an increased concentration of fresh circulating air in these natural areas. Thus, spending in nature decreases the incidence of breathing complications caused by air pollutants like smoke.
Fights depression and improves mental health
According to experts, spending time outside in nature is one of the best remedies for dealing with depression. Studies show that spending time in a park with a lot of green trees and shrubs as well as inhaling the fragrance of fresh flowers like roses and jasmine can lift an individual’s mood and reduce the production of cortisol whose increased levels have been implicated in depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
Promotes weight loss
Spending more time outdoors in nature, even just by taking a stroll goes a long way in maintaining a healthy weight. Spending time outdoors prevents a sedentary lifestyle and reduces the risk of obesity.
There are several physical activities to engage in when outdoors such as biking, walking, running, and swimming and these activities have been noted to burn calories rapidly.
Health experts say jogging or running for an average of 30 minutes a day would burn approximately 300 calories. Research has also shown that an individual, at a moderate pace, burns approximately 300 calories after 60 minutes of cycling. It has also been discovered that exercising in nature is sustainable because the airy and beautiful environment increases motivation to work out as well as makes exercising easier.
Spending time in nature has been associated with improved sleep cycles as it reorientates the body’s circadian rhythm with nature’s daylight and nighttime.
Ample time in sunlight and nature also shortens the time you take to sleep by helping you feel more tired as well as improves the quality of your sleep.
Fosters connection to people
Spending ample time in nature grounds an individual and encourages positive feelings like happiness and contentment with one's life. This in turn positively influences his or her relationships with those around him or her.
It also promotes empathy and cooperation hence, enabling individuals to form stronger bonds with loved ones. In addition to this, you are likely to meet new people as you stroll in the park or on a group hiking trip and this helps you socialize and form social connections.
Studies show that spending adequate time in nature has been linked to a decreased mortality rate. A study carried out shows that the death rate was reduced by about 12% in individuals who dwelled around green and vegetation-rich environments.
The decrease in mortality rate associated with adequate time in nature has been linked to improved bodily and immune system function, reduced risk of developing terminal illnesses and decreased suicidal tendencies.