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Immerse Yourself In Nature For A Positive Impact On Your Mental Health

Nature Wellness

When it comes to nature, we as a species have a seemingly love/hate relationship. We love the long, warm summer days where the rays of the sun warm our skin and beautiful bugs flit about the sky. But we hate the cold, damp days of the winter with the dark evenings and the messy, muddy outdoors.

Regardless of how we feel season to season, there’s no doubt that being outside experiencing nature can help boost our mental wellbeing. But exactly what is it about nature that can help to boost our morale in such a simple way?

The Benefits of Vitamin D

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. Vitamin D is important for absorbing minerals from our food. These minerals, like calcium and phosphate, keep our teeth, bones and muscles healthy. Naturally, research shows that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

Research also shows that adequate levels of Vitamin D can boost weight loss, fight disease and reduce depression. During the sunnier months, most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin. In the chillier months, it may be a good idea to supplement it. The sun shining is an obvious mood-booster, but there are many more health benefits to getting out in the fresh air than you might think.

Increasing your activity levels

Getting out and about and being more connected to nature generally implies that our bodies will be moving somehow. Whether we’re simply walking the dog or going hardcore and climbing mountains – any way we keep active helps our mental health. Being active and outside releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good - boosting your self-esteem and helping you concentrate as well as sleep well and feel better. Keeping ourselves fit controls our weight, helps to improve our mood and strengthens our muscles. That’s the magical power of moving our bodies. Not only this, but listening to the sounds of nature can help us feel calmer and more grounded or present.

Getting creative

The vast nature of the outdoors and its sheer openness can help to inspire our minds. Sometimes we can draw a blank on our thoughts and ideas – and this is normal. But getting into nature and having some time out can really help to overcome these mental blocks. Research has shown that nature can inspire new ways of thinking, as well as relieving the everyday pressures of day-to-day life. Just like our physical bodies, spending time outdoors can improve our physical and mental health by allowing our thoughts to expand as far as the eye can see. In short, the mind is free to marvel at the world around us.

People tend to report feelings of awe when admiring beautiful views or sunsets. These kinds of expansive, uplifting feelings allow us to break free from pressures, and gain new perspectives—on old problems.

Reduces anxiety

The results of spending time outside and being amongst nature are pretty clear – there’s very little that can impact us negatively. The results of being more active can also provide a boost in self-esteem and improve confidence, therefore improving symptoms of depression.

If you’ve ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (or, quite aptly, SAD), you’ll know that it’s quite normal for the time of year to affect mood. But, like many other types of depression, the best ways to combat SAD have been found to be those that take advantage of nature. For example, getting as much exposure to natural sunlight as possible, sitting near open windows and getting outdoors for exercise are some of the main ways to combat SAD.

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