For thousands of generations, humans spent all their time in nature, living and working with the land. As towns and cities developed, our ways of living changed, bringing us to today, where most people work inside looking at screens and end the day inside looking at screens.
Technology, including notification sounds and screen lights, elevates our stress response and can elevate cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and inflammation. Nature helps reduce the negative effects of a continuously elevated stress response through soothing sights and sounds.
Have you ever felt better after a vacation to the beach or a hike in the forest? Not that we need studies to intuitively know that we require nature, but countless studies have found exposure to nature improves healing times as well as mental, spiritual, and physical health (all three are necessary for overall health). In fact, nature is so critical to health and wellbeing that it has been coined “Vitamin N”.
So this is your reminder to get outside at least 20 minutes a day. Here are a variety of ways to connect with nature:
- Walk outside: through a neighborhood, park, or nearby trail
- Grounding: stand barefoot on the earth in your yard, a park, or forest
- Sit Spot: find a quiet, safe spot outside you can return to over time and sit for 20 minutes observing and reflecting. Read more about Sit Spots.
- Use your senses when outside. Smell a rose, feel the intricacies of tree bark, hear the birds, observe the ripple of water.
- Decorate your home with houseplants
Resources: Books on Vitamin N http://richardlouv.com/books/
P.S.: Pets are considered nature too!