Being outdoors has so many unexpected, surprising benefits for your mind and body! Surrounding yourself with nature has been proven to reduce anger, fear, and stress, while increasing positive feelings. Not only does nature make you feel better mentally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of cortisol (stress hormone). Time in nature may even reduce mortality, according to public health researchers.
Research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety, as well as provide relief from discomfort! According to a study done on post-operative surgery patients, physicians found that those patients that even just viewed images of the outdoors had fewer complications and even had a reduced hospital stay.
A study published in the UK finds that spending at least 2 hours a week outside is optimal to soak up all of the benefits nature provides. Try going on a hike this week and see how it makes you feel! Even taking some time to enjoy a picnic with your friends is a great, relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors. We all could use some time away from screens and some time for ourselves to reflect and breathe.