Get Thee to a Forest!
When was the last time you went outside?
I don't just mean from your front door to your car and across the parking lot, I mean really outside. Like, no time-frame or agenda, or maybe even a destination. When was the last time you just were, outside?
Have you ever noticed how you tend to take deeper breaths when you're outside? It just feels right, like in all that extra space, you have extra room to breathe deep. Would you be surprised to learn there's a scientific explanation for that?
For those of us who make a habit of getting outside, it's obvious that it does something to you. You just feel better when you get to spend time in the fresh air, the rain, or the sunshine. And it turns out that science gives us an enormous amount of empirical evidence to support that gut feeling.
So if you need a little more convincing, or a reason to make going outside a habit rather than an occasional event, read on.
Spending as little as 30 minutes outdoors per week (that's nothing!) was shown to be enough to measurably reduce symptoms of depression. With diagnoses of depression and anxiety on the rise, having a drug-free, therapist-free, free free way to help manage symptoms is absolutely essential.
Spending time in nature lowers the levels of chemicals related to stress in your body, including pro-inflammatory compounds and cortisol.
Hospital patients recovering from surgery in rooms with live plants had lower blood pressure, needed less pain medication, and reported less anxiety than patients in rooms without plants. Imagine the healing benefit of getting out into an entire forest or botanical garden!
If you know me at all, you've probably heard me talk about Empowered Healing. It's a big deal to me, because I've been on both sides of the healing dichotomy – the disempowered and the empowered.
I believe that sometimes medical intervention is necessary for achieving your best health. It's something I've experienced myself many times. Butt I also know for an absolute fact that your participation in your own health and wellbeing is 100% necessary to live your best life.
Having tools in your toolbox for taking an active, empowered role in your wellbeing is essential. And the easier the tools are to use, the more likely you are to use them. That's why when I started researching the studied and proven benefits of spending time in nature, I doubled down on my own commitment to getting outside every day, and started telling everyone I know to get outside, too. There's no downside, and you have so much to gain.
So spend some time in your own backyard, walk around your neighbourhood and smell the roses, or find a nearby park or trail for more of a challenge. I guarantee you'll fall in love with how you feel when you're outside.