- Posted on December 13, 2018
- in anxiety, books, self-service
I knew that spending time outdoors was good for me before reading Florence Williams’s book The Nature Fix.
Honestly, I was not sure that I would learn something new from the book.
I was wrong.
Williams decided to write a book after moving from Boulder, Colorado, to Washington, DC, leaving her depressed and wondering if this is due to the sudden transition to life in the capital.
Nature, Williams concludes in a book, is not just something good, it is a necessity – and one that is deeply underestimated.
Researchers have found that time in nature can reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, stress, burning, and mental fatigue. It can also improve attention, memory, cognition, sleep, self-esteem and happiness. And the consequences can go beyond psychological benefits.
Surprisingly, how powerful an experience in nature can be, it is not beneficial for all. Some people (about 15 or 20 percent) simply do not like nature and do not receive much from it.
My city lived + London loving sister comes to mind. I suspect that she is a member of this minority.
So how does nature work wonders for people who like it? Williams concludes that "nature seems to act directly on our vegetative systems, calming us, but it also acts indirectly, facilitating social contacts and stimulating physical exercise and physical movements."
Even a small amount of time "can make us less aggressive, more creative, more civil and more healthy."
It was shown that only 15 minutes in the forest reduce the level of cortisol, a stress hormone in the subjects. Increase your exposure to nature to 45 minutes, and most people will improve cognitive activity.
To prevent depression, Finnish researchers recommend at least five hours a month in nature. The real amount for most of us.
At the beginning of the year, I introduced the daily habit of walking, which, as it turned out, changed lives. I'm happier. More energetic. More relaxed. More creative.
I have to admit, I scratched my head, why didn't I do it before.
Working with my clients to introduce a new + healthy habit, we always start small.
Given the abundance of research pointing to the benefits of going outside, think about how you can start small.
Can you cut 15 minutes out of your day to go outside? For me it was important to avoid social networking during the day.
We suffer from an “epidemic dislocation in the open air,” Williams writes, and this is detrimental to our mental and physical health. Therapy is simple. "The more nature, the better you feel."
XO ~ Robin
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