Nature plays a huge role in our health and wellness yet we often overlook it in favour for eating well and doing an exercise class right?? The latter two activities are obviously both good for our health but wellness is so much more than just this.
Nature is all around you, it doesn’t cost a penny and is accessible at any time of day…
Sadly research has shown that more and more of us are spending more and more time indoors.
For example how many hours a day do you spend at your desk behind your computer, without even glancing up for air???
When you finish work, and have done what you have needed to do including dinner, putting kids to bed etc where do you go, in the garden or sat in front of the TV or computer?
Indoor living unfortunately can have a negative impact on our health and it’s becoming more and more common in today’s society as Dr Rangan Chatterjee mentions in his book The Stress Solution, where he talks about seeing more and more patients with what is now termed as “nature deficiency”.
Research is showing us that getting out in nature can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety, improve concentration, because it puts our body and mind in a calm state.
Simply being in sunlight triggers our skin to make vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Research has linked low vitamin D levels with depression, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
Have you heard of Forest Bathing?
Well in Japan there is a past time called “Shinrin -Yoku” which simply means Forest Bathing, immersing oneself amongst the trees. It is all related to the phytoncides trees give off and the health benefits of this. Unfortunately we don’t all have a forest or woodland on our doorstep, but thankfully we all have nature. It’s all around us even if we live in a city, whether that be your garden, a local park or playing field etc.
So how do we ensure we get out in nature more?
- Schedule some time each day just to get outside
- If living in a flat why not bring nature to you. Lots of people now cover their balconies with plants. There is a reason for this and that is it makes them feel good and provides them albeit small with a taste of nature
- If you have no outdoor space indoor plants are the next best thing and are trending right now on the likes of Instagram and Pinterest
- Get gardening! Getting your hands in the dirt is actually good for you—there’s a strain of bacteria in the soil—Mycobacterium vaccae—that has been found to be good for your mental health because it triggers the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety.
- During the summer move your kitchen outside — fire up the bbq and enjoy food outside.
- Join an outdoors club, which could be anything from running club to an art club.
- On clear nights spend some time just looking up at the stars
Key point in all of this is that we should not forget to utilise the power of nature in supporting our wellness. If you do one thing for yourself today try to get outdoors, it’s good for you 🙂