The Science Behind Nature's Positive Impact on Your Wellness

In today's fast-paced world, spending time in nature is becoming less frequent. While many still enjoy parks, hikes, and being around plants and animals, it's clear that people are spending more time indoors lately.

But is this a bad thing? Could staying inside more often be depriving us of benefits that boost our physical and mental health? Can being in nature positively affect your wellbeing? The answer is yes! Here are twelve ways it can.

1. Nature Boosts Cognitive Function

Research shows that the rich stimuli from nature, like fresh air and outdoor views, can offer several benefits:

  • Helps your "big picture" thinking recover
  • Lets you focus on details from a bottom-up perspective
  • Engages your mind gently, allowing you to relax

This different engagement helps your brain rest and reset, so when you return to tasks, you feel refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges!

2. It Enhances Vitality

Positive thinking benefits both mental and physical health, but it can be hard to achieve. Plants can help!

Studies show that being in nature-filled environments offers many mental health benefits, such as:

  • Assisting those with impulsivity and agitation from learning disorders
  • Boosting mental and physical energy levels
  • Invoking positive emotions, making you feel better

You don't need to do much to gain these benefits. Just 20 minutes in a park can make you feel better!

3. It Lowers Stress

Modern urban life is very stressful. How often do you get a break from the constant hustle? How can you recover?

Nature offers a solution! In a study with 120 participants, researchers found that those exposed to natural landscapes, compared to urban environments:

  • Had lower stress scores
  • Showed healthier pulse rates and heart rates
  • Recovered faster from stressful events
  • Found it easier to stay positive
  • Maintained better overall mental health

4. Nature Provides Sunlight

Vitamin D is crucial for health, and the body can't produce it naturally. You also can't get enough from food alone.

Instead, the best way to get this crucial vitamin is through sunlight!

Your skin only makes vitamin D when it is exposed to direct sunlight – something you can easily get in nature! This is important because Vitamin D:

  • Is essential for maintaining good mental health
  • Helps the body absorb calcium, preventing osteoporosis
  • Is linked to a lower risk of heart attacks
  • May help prevent cancer

Thankfully, you don't need too much sunlight. The exact amount you need depends on where you are in the world, the time of day, and your skin color – but generally, you'll only need between 10 to 20 minutes of sunlight a day!

5. It Boosts Creativity

There's a reason why many great artists retreated to the countryside to create their masterpieces. Nature is full of inspiration and references for your next artistic piece, and disconnecting from society can boost your creativity!

It might sound like just an observation, but there's science behind it. Thanks to the University of Kansas, we now have research showing that nature helps:

  • Improve creativity
  • Enhance problem-solving skills
  • Refill the energy needed for an attention-demanding world
  • Provide rest and relaxation

6. It Enhances Attention

Have you ever wondered why nature seems to restore our mental and physical health? There's an answer for that.

Research has shown that nature re-energizes us and helps us shed the exhaustion from daily life. The main reasons are:

  • Urban life is full of details that demand our attention and focus.
  • Nature is gentler in its demands, lowering the energy needed to pay attention.
  • The type of attention nature requires is different from what we usually use.
  • Humans are naturally drawn to spatial environments, which nature provides in abundance.

These factors give nature a therapeutic effect on our minds and souls. We often return to our daily lives feeling refreshed and ready to tackle life again!

7. It Encourages Physical Activity

Your BMI isn't the only measure of health. Since muscle is heavier than fat, athletes and bodybuilders are often considered obese, which is clearly incorrect!

However, you might still be monitoring your or your child's BMI for health reasons – and managing it can be challenging. Thankfully, nature can help!

But how?

  • Research indicates that kids living near green spaces are more likely to stay active.
  • Outdoor exercise is more enjoyable, making longer workouts appealing and motivating.
  • You'll engage smaller muscle groups that aren't usually worked in a controlled, indoor setting.

8. It Helps Manage Depression

Unfortunately, clinical depression can't be cured by positive thinking alone. However, every little bit helps when you're trying to manage it.

So why not use nature as another tool in your fight? Studies show that being in nature and interacting with the environment can offer these benefits:

  • A noticeable boost to your mood
  • Increased energy and motivation
  • Faster recovery from depressive episodes

9. It Promotes Heart Health

Despite its importance, we don't have many ways to care for our hearts.

Coronary heart disease is a major, silent killer worldwide. For every person who dies from it, many more struggle with its aftermath. Even surgery isn't a final fix, as recovery can be tough.

Nature can be a great healer. Horticultural therapy has been shown to reduce mental and physical stress, making it a valuable tool for patients on their recovery journey.

You don't have to wait until after surgery to benefit. Start gardening now for your health!

10. Mother Nature Can Enhance Your Spirit

Ever felt awe looking at a natural wonder up close? You might understand this feeling more than you think.

Researchers have found that being in nature increases our appreciation of the world. This connection to our senses and mind is significant.

When you're struggling to find your place in the universe, try visiting a nearby park. The peace and calm might be just what your soul needs.

11. It Reduces Eyesight Problems

Modern life hasn't been kind to our eyes. Many of us wear glasses, contacts, or have had surgery. As eyesight issues appear at younger ages, we need solutions.

Going outside is one answer! A study in Australia found that kids who played outside had fewer vision problems like myopia compared to those who spent too much time on screens.

12. It Improves Nervous System Function

No matter where you are, you've likely encountered a culture that values spending time in nature. In the United States, for instance, many people love hiking and camping in the wilderness.

In these moments, we find joy in simply observing our surroundings and breathing deeply. Studies suggest this might be exactly what we need for better health!

Researchers have discovered that those who spend ample time enjoying nature experience:

  • Healthier cardiovascular systems
  • Reduced risks of bowel disorders
  • Improved moods
  • Enhanced nervous system function

It seems nature truly is the best healer!

Nature is calming, serene, and beautiful. It's no surprise that many people enjoy hobbies surrounded by greenery! There's something incredibly relaxing about engaging in outdoor activities, even if it's just a solo walk.

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