They Don’t Call It The Great Outdoors For Nothin!
I wasn’t sure exactly why, but there’s something about being outdoors that calms my anxiety and lifts my spirits! Especially when I’m feeling particularly low! I was curious, so I decided to find out why being outside improves my mood so much:) Turns out, I’m not the only one! We can all benefit- they don’t call it the great outdoors for nothin!
Feeling hurt, stressed, overwhelmed, upset, anxious… seriously try this- get off the technology and get outside! Go hike in a forest, sit near some water or lay in the sun! It’s free, always available and super feel-good effective!
Being outdoors has so many benefits, from improving mental focus to boosting your mood! How do you feel when you go for a walk in the sunshine? Happy? The sun helps your body produce vitamin d, which naturally boost serotonin levels- an instant pick me up! Source
Allow yourself to just be fully present and completely mindful of the little details when you step outside- the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze, the smell of flowers or fresh cut grass and the feeling of balance that comes when you touch the earth. It’s incredible when you allow yourself to take it all in.
Here are some ways to improve your mental health with Mother Nature.
Get Back To Nature! Get Outdoors!
If you feel overworked and stressed, it’s time to find your inner peace again. But how can you find serenity in a calamitous world? Get back to nature!
The sounds and scents of nature also help relax your mind and relieve your stresses!
Take a deep breath and head outdoors to your favorite national park, local walking trail, bird estuary, or forest. You’ll recapture your sense of calm when you spend some time in nature.
Follow these tips:
1. Be comfortable. Dress comfortably and take plenty of beverages and snacks. This is easy if you’re driving the car to your special nature spot. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes.
2. Avoid distractions. Unplug your devices and your mind will follow! If you must take your cell phone (for Instagram pics of course), turn it on silent mode to avoid pesky phone calls. For now, you plan to trade in your busy and hectic life, for that of the park or forest.
3. Walk on well-marked paths. Ensure you can find your way back. Don’t get off track or explore anywhere dangerous! Where I live, we have some pretty steep mountains!
4. Relax your mind. Forget about the noise going on in your head. Allow the stressful thoughts to float away. Just let go of all the pressures. You’re in one of your favorite places now. No worries exist there! Okay, well they do… but they can wait an hour while you chill!
5. Listen to the sounds that surround you. Maybe the trees are rustling in the wind, the birds are singing, or you hear an animal call… as long as it’s not a bear, we good!
Take The Outdoors, In!
6. Use visual cues to relax. Leave your world behind. Look around and notice all the green trees. See the dirt path, the tiny ants crawling on a log, and the spider web. I’m telling you, taking it ALL in really helps relax your mind!
7. Steep yourself in the smells of your surroundings. What is that fragrance? A hint of honeysuckle? The woodsy fragrance of pine? Breathe in and breathe out consciously. If you live near a pine tree forest, you are so lucky and should definitely go take a walk through when you’re feeling stressed! I’ve always loved the smell of pine and other evergreen trees but I had no idea that they had so much power over your mental health!
Recent Studies at the Japan’s Kyoto University show the impact the smell of pine has on depression and anxiety. The study even showed that the more stressed out volunteers, showed the greatest relaxation after taking a 15 min stroll through a pine forest! How amazing?!?!
8. The tactile sensations come next. Are the leaves of a bush lightly brushing your arms? Are you challenged to keep your footing on the bumpy path? Physically coming into contact with nature is an important part of the experience, in addition to the sights, sounds and smells. It is after all, an experience!
Being aware of your surroundings outside and taking it all in feels so, so good!
Mammal Watching – Like People Watching, Only Better!
9. Look for the critters in the woods. Maybe you’ll spot a raccoon or a squirrel. Observing other mammals is fascinating and you’ll learn something every time you watch an animal. It’s kinda like people watching, only even more satisfying!
10. Think about gratitude. What are you grateful for in your life? Focus on the simple things. “I love my chair in the living room with my books piled high next to it.” “I’m grateful for the sunset I see each evening from my kitchen window.” “I’m grateful for having eyes to see and hands that work for me.” “I’m grateful for this blog and all of my readers:)”
Enjoy the peace. Realize that right at this moment, you feel a sense of calm, peacefulness, and serenity that you can return to any time you want, simply by visiting this wonderful corner of nature.
Immerse yourself in the experiences of nature. Allow yourself to be keenly aware of the sights, sounds, smells, and atmosphere around you. No matter where your favorite outdoors spots are, visit them regularly to return to what’s most important: You!
Being outdoors has so many benefits to your overall health! Next time you’re feeling stressed out or anxious, take a walk around the block or through a pine tree forest (if you’re lucky enough to have one close by) and I bet you’ll instantly feel uplifted! Get back to nature:)
I have teamed up with some amazing wellness bloggers to bring you Wellness Wednesday. Together with Andrea from Pine Tree Farmhouse, Shellie from ShellieLynn.com, and Michelle from Garden of Aquarius we will share with you our knowledge to help you live a happier, healthier life. Join us twice a month for some of the best information we can give you to from our journey to yours.
Shellie shares the top 5 essential oils to help with seasonal threats here.
Andrea shares a recipe for Gardner’s hand soap that includes pine and peppermint here.