For most of us being in nature can feel restorative, nurturing and healing. Researchers have been studying nature to determine what the specific benefits of being in nature are. Recent findings indicate being in nature:
-Improved short term memory
-Restoration of mental energy (more alert and engaged attention)
-Stress relief- lowers cortisol levels (hormone associated with stress) and blood pressure
-Reduced inflammation (management/improvement in inflammatory disorders/diseases)
-Sharper thinking and creativity
-Anti cancer effects (stimulates production of anti cancer proteins)
-Improved/boost immune system health
-Improved mental health (decreases anxiety and depression; increases self-esteem)
-Reduced risks associated with early death (recovery from stress, physical activity, social contact, better air quality and improvements in mental health support longevity)
All of these benefits are wonderful reasons to spend time outdoors in nature. When we spend time in nature we are exposed to Vitamin D, clean air, exercise, experiences of groundedness and awe as well as to the various nutrient rich qualities of nature, which support improving our well-being.
The time we spend in nature does appear to affect how much of these benefits we can receive. Scientists have been studying that anywhere from five minutes up to weeks at a time in nature can have benefit. However, just like with mindfulness meditation practice, the more we practice, or spend time in nature, the more benefit we will receive.