Scientists believe that spending time in nature has a beneficial effect on our physical and mental health. Numerous studies have also suggested a link between time spent in nature and improved concentration, reduced stress, anxiety and depression, a stronger immune system, and a faster recovery time. Research has also linked biophilic (love of nature) experiences to lower pulse rate, blood pressure and lower cortisol levels. In fact, subtle changes of scenery like the mere sight of a beautiful houseplant or working in the yard offer significant benefits.
Following are 7 ways to fit more nature into your life - no matter how busy you are.
1. Exercise Outside Whenever Possible
If you work out, set aside time to exercise outdoors. Whether it is a slow, relaxed walk after working out in the gym to cool down, or a run, you'll be adding health benefits to your exercise routine. It's actually easier to exercise outdoors, with people reporting experiencing less pain and fatigue. Think of your outdoor jaunt as a reward for all your hard work.
2. Find a Pretty "Go-To” Green Space
It's a lot easier to spend more time in nature if you know where to go in advance, places that have trees, flowers, grass and a few of mother nature's critters to enjoy. Make a list of places around your community and neighborhoods that have green spaces, including your local nursery. During your lunch break look for areas close to where you work as well, whether it's a park or rooftop garden, and submerge yourself in mother nature.
3. Drown Out City Sounds
If you live in a noisy area, drown out the sounds by listening the restful sounds created by mother nature. There are a lot of soundscape apps available - find a few that appeal to you like soundscapes of the rain, ocean waves, forests, etc.
4. Bring a Little of the Outdoors In
Integrating natural elements inside your home can be rejuvenating and therapeutic. Bringing bits of the outdoors into your “indoor life” will help you feel connected to the beautiful elements’ nature provides. These components can help reduce stress and anxiety, refocusing your attention when it’s not possible to head outdoors. Here are a few ideas.
Add greenery, including plants, herbal gardens, vases full of flowers, etc.
Decorate with natural elements. Some ideas include painting a mural with trees, use wicker baskets to store things, add decorative nature themed throw pillows.
Add an indoor water feature or two.
Listen to nature sounds via an app or YouTube.
Use an essential oil diffuser and natural scents that include, lavender, rain, pine, fresh cut grass, lilac, citrus, or oregano.
5. Get Creative
Enjoy taking pictures? It's easy these days thanks to our cell phones! If you're a creative person who needs a purpose to get outdoors (besides the health benefits), why not make nature photography a hobby? Besides enjoying the rewards of breathing in fresh air - like reducing stress - you can start a creative hobby, or just share the photos you take with family and friends. I bet mom would really appreciate it!
6. Walk a Furry Pal
Just like humans, dogs require regular exercise to be happy and healthy. So, let your fur baby inspire you to go for a lovely walk, whether it's at a dog park, along a country road or the beach. If you don't have your own pooch buddy, why not offer to walk a friend or neighbors?
7. Make Nature a Priority
If you're like most people, you can probably think of several things you do on a daily basis that fit into the low priority category. Take a minute to think about it . . . what are a few of the things you do every day that are a waste of time? For example, consider . . .
The amount of time you spend watching TV
The length of time you spend online, checking out social media, or browsing the internet for things that don't add value to your life?
What other things do you do to pass the time that aren't enhancing your life?
If you're currently spending your free time on these low priority things, it should be easy to fit more nature into your life. Whether it's to relax in your yard or going for a walk, it will be time well spent. Are you willing to give up 10 minutes of TV every day to enjoy 10 minutes of outdoor contentment and the benefits mother nature has to offer?
Making nature a priority comes down to realizing the positive effects just a few minutes a day of quiet time outdoors can have on you. Spending time in nature is a sort of meditative practice that, if you commit to it, will enhance all areas of your life.
Think of fitting more nature into your life as something essential to your everyday well-being, like brushing your teeth or taking vitamins - Simply make spending time in nature a priority!