These days, so much of our lives are lived indoors. Many of us are glued to electronic screens for hours on end, day after day. All of these hours spent within the confines of four walls and stale air is taking its toll on our health.
If you’re ready to take a breath of fresh air (literally), then you won’t want to miss these amazing mental health benefits of spending time in nature.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of life? Time spent in nature could be just what your heart, mind, and body needs to heal! #naturetherapyTweet
We need to be in touch with others and the outside world to stay happy and healthy. Spending time in nature gives us a chance to connect with our natural environment.
It also helps reduce stress, frustration, and lengthens our attention span. And the amazing part is these benefits aren’t just limited to people who live completely in nature or spend all their time there.
Even a brief stroll through a park or a visit to a botanical garden can provide these mental health benefits. So if you’re worried about your place in the shocking mental health stats from the past few years, here are 4 great reasons you should incorporate more time in nature into your daily life.
# 1 – Stress Relief
It is my opinion that as our modern society works itself to death, always being ‘on’ with electronics, we end up staying in a heightened state of elevated cortisol and fight or flight.
When we are constantly having to focus on something, make a decision, or be under pressure — it’s no wonder our mental health suffers. Walking away from those responsibilities and pressures, even for 5 minutes, to get into a quiet place in nature can help us still our minds and bodies.
In one small study by Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tested the saliva of 36 participants for levels of the stress hormone cortisol before and after spending brief amounts of time in nature. This took place over an 8-week period, at least 3 days per week.
The participants were also asked not to engage in any exercise, technology use, reading, or other potentially stressful activities before their time in nature.
What they discovered was fascinating. Just 20 to 30 minutes spent in a more natural environment ‘unplugged’ from the world’s demands caused a remarkable drop in cortisol.
Nature is constantly changing, and there is always something new and refreshing to look at. By taking a few minutes to “smell the roses” and reduce our stress, we improve our health — mentally and physically.
# 2 – Improved Mood & Confidence Boost
One of nature’s biggest mental health benefits is that it improves your mood. Stress has a way of destroying both our mental and physical health. But when you spend time in nature, you experience a sense of calm and relaxation.
It’s no surprise that our moods and confidence levels increase as our stress levels decrease.
Feeling confident isn’t just an admirable trait; it’s an essential part of mental wellbeing. The confidence you gain from spending time in nature can have a major impact on your mental health.
The next time you feel “stuck” on a problem, unmotivated, unfocused, and lacking confidence — take a walk outside to a quiet space.
You just might be amazed how quickly you feel refreshed, renewed, and have the confidence to take on whatever it is coming your way that day.
# 3 – Increased Self-Esteem
Nature can contribute to better mental health by boosting your self-esteem. When we feel secure within ourselves and in our identity through Christ, we are not afraid to live by faith.
If you ask my humble opinion, it is impossible to see all that was created for us and not feel loved.
How could your self-esteem improve just by being outdoors? This phenomena is believed to happen because being in nature releases those feel-good, happy hormones in your body.
That flooding of happiness can give you a different perspective – on life and on yourself. Many times the only thing we need is that change in perspective to see the truth in our situations.
I can’t tell you how many times personally the Holy Spirit has pulled me away to a quiet place just so I can listen to His still small voice speaking truth to my heart.
With too much noise and distraction in our lives, it is easy to believe lies without even realizing that’s what is hurting us.
When dealing with deeper issues for low self-esteem such as trauma or wrong thinking patterns, we will need more support for lasting change. But sometimes all we need is a little breath of fresh air, figuratively and literally, to help move us toward healing.
# 4 – Brighten Up with the Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D, also known as the “Sunshine vitamin,” is absolutely critical to our health in so many ways. This is exactly why one of the greatest mental health benefits of spending time in nature is getting your daily dose of vitamin D!
Did you know that a deficiency in this key vitamin can cause the exact same symptoms as severe depression?
I found this out the hard way years ago when blood tests revealed that I had almost no vitamin D stored in my body. My gut health was a mess so I wasn’t absorbing it from food and my body wasn’t converting sunlight into it either.
I was feeling absolutely awful and since vitamin D is critical for so many processes in our bodies, especially mental health, it’s no wonder that I did.
According to the the NIH, it is recommended we aim for 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure between the hours of 10am to 4pm at least twice per week for optimal synthesis of vitamin D.
Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time In Nature Conclusion
There are numerous benefits associated with spending time in nature, including stress relief, improved mood, increased self-esteem, and even better vision! So if you’re feeling a little off, try going out of your urban setting and into something more natural.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!
- What are your favorite mental health benefits of spending time in nature?
- Do you find that you are happier when you’ve spent some time outdoors?
Thank you for reading & sharing! I appreciate you!