Positive psychological effects of exposure to nature.
There is currently a great deal occurring around the globe, and at times it can feel as though there is no way out. We have 24-hour news networks that alert us to the atrocities of the world at all hours of the day, and we carry little devices in our pockets that ding with the latest horrible news report. In addition to the news, the never-ending scroll of social media brings its own set of issues.
By exposing ourselves to continual information in the form of images, videos, and text for hours every day, we are essentially tiring ourselves out and causing further problems. It can be easy to forget that social media is only a well-crafted glimpse of a person’s life, and when you see a filtered image of an old buddy who appears to be doing better than you, it can be enough to send your mood spiraling into comparison and misery.
But what do the majority of us do in this circumstance? As we scroll, the situation worsens to the point that it might spoil your day. In addition, we’re all suffering from pandemic fatigue, and many of us feel that we can’t handle much more. Modern life appears to be a cocktail of mental turbulence that is shaken, not stirred when we add our own personal life pressures such as our financial and personal problems.
Anxiety, depression, and panic disorder are examples of such problems. Over the past two years, mental health difficulties directly related to the pandemic, such as social isolation and health anxiety, have worsened, and it is anticipated that data in the next months will reflect this trend.
Numerous individuals have reported suffering from new anxiety or a worsening of pre-existing problems as a result of circumstances and mental health treatment limitations. The World Health Organization has unearthed evidence that COVID-19 disrupts mental health services in the majority of countries while simultaneously boosting the need for these services.
As we begin to embrace the ‘new normal,’ this confluence has left many people in limbo and hurting. Seeking professional assistance is essential if your mental health is deteriorating. Typically, speaking with your doctor is the initial step, but you can also confide in a trusted friend or family member. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, and conversing with anyone may be extremely relieving.
Is there anything further you can do immediately to reduce some frequent mental health problems after you have gathered support? While there is no quick fix, we all have access to something, regardless of our circumstances.
Additionally, it is absolutely free and closer than you may expect; in fact, it is right outside your window. The benefits of being in nature to our mental health have been studied for a long time, and more and more research is revealing their extent.
Nature is everything outdoors, including the scenery, plants, flowers, and trees, as well as animals and insects. It is described as products of the Earth, as opposed to those created by humans. According to studies, being outdoors can enhance your mood and alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety.
Immersing yourself in nature and focusing on details such as the scent of freshly cut grass or the sound of blooming flowers can be a mindfulness exercise that grounds you in your surroundings and provides a respite from your problems. By paying close attention to what’s happening around you, you can see some wonderful sights, such as busy bees or the season’s first butterfly.
These small acts can improve our mood and make us feel like we’re a part of something greater. The next time you notice your mood deteriorating while looking through social media, put down your phone and go outside.
“Nature is all around you, whether you live in the city or the country; you just need to step outdoors to enjoy it”
Taking in a breath of fresh air and spending 10 minutes in nature can significantly alter one’s disposition. Even if you don’t feel it, you have just done something beneficial for your mental health.
The act of walking itself can also improve our physical health, which will have a positive impact on our mood. Increasing your pace to a brisk walk, even somewhat, can trigger the production of endorphins; these chemicals have been found to improve your mood and promote relaxation.
Recent research indicates that even walking at a comfortable rate induces sensations of calm, so you can stroll at your own pace. Being in nature has the added benefit of reducing emotions of isolation and loneliness by fostering interaction with others.
Don’t be scared to smile at a passerby or say hi to a neighbor you rarely interact with. Even minor interactions can improve our mood and well-being. A simple thing that you might do today is get coffee and drink it outside.
Make sure to drink the entire cup outside and keep your phone in your pocket while you do so! Observe your surroundings and take in the noises and sights. If you live in an urban environment, try to spot as many signs of nature as you can; are there any shrubs beginning to bloom or birds swooping above you?
Can you hear the wind blowing through the trees in a park full of trees? If there is no nearby coffee shop or you want to save money, bring a reusable cup from home and drink your morning beverage outside, rather than at your desk or in front of the television. If you included this small mindfulness practice into your daily routine, you might begin to look forward to your “me time” each day.
If you feel especially worried or are struggling with your mental health, attempting to take a brief stroll every day might be really beneficial. This modest routine can offer your day structure, but if you find it difficult at first, don’t stray too far from home.
Start in your garden and proceed, even if it’s only to the end of your street and back, without distractions, and simply observe your surroundings, even if it’s just the end of your street and back. This can offer you a sense of success even if you are feeling depressed, so why not record it in a journal each day along with a few lines about where you went and what you saw?
Immersing oneself in nature can provide you with healing benefits and a sense of connection with the natural world. Whether you live in a city or a rural area, nature is all around you; you only need to step outside to appreciate it. While there are several studies on green places, blue spaces, such as the ocean and waterways, are also included, and a stroll along a river or even a stream can bring a new sensory degree of relaxation.
Put on some comfy shoes, take your keys, and step outside, even if it only makes you grin for a moment; that’s a good start. Disclaimer: These tips should be used in conjunction with professional mental health care. If you or a loved one is having mental health concerns, please consult your physician.