We know that being in nature is healthy and feels good, but how exactly does it help you – and how much?
Can you get the benefits of forest bathing by just standing in the woods for a while? Can you heal depression in your backyard? Or is there a little more than just exposure to getting all of the physical and cognitive benefits of being in green spaces?
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits you get from spending time in parks and green spaces.
Being Outdoors Connects You To Yourself and Other People
One of the most significant benefits of being outdoors and in nature is the opportunity to connect with other people, and yourself.
Whether you are hanging out in a green backyard or taking a long hike with friends, it can be easier to get into those deep conversations when you are in nature. Without the constant distractions of phones, televisions, and computers, you can breathe and create space for more connection.
Whether you choose to go alone or take a friend along with you into green spaces, you can use this site to send a postcard to loved ones to let them know that you are thinking about them.
It can be a lot of fun to share outdoor activities with friends and family – from sports that you can do almost anywhere, like walking or yoga, to niche outdoor pursuits like rock climbing or whitewater rafting.
You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to get the greatest benefits of outdoor activities, though. Simply walking through a park with a friend is an opportunity to move and talk slowly, and take in the view. According to the Japanese philosophy of “forest bathing”, your presence in nature alone is enough to be nourishing.
You can deepen your connection with other people outdoors, but it is also a way to find yourself. If you are alone in nature, you don’t even have a conversation to distract you. Sometimes, that level of focus is hard to find in a crowded world. When you are truly by yourself, you have time, space, and a pleasant environment to work things out.
Being in Green Spaces Relieves Stress
Sometimes the circumstances and stress of life can feel overwhelming, and a walk in nature can help tremendously.
Scientific studies have shown that urban environments can be mentally draining, and reduce our ability to direct our attention. In contrast, forests or natural environments help to relax us and increase our ability to pay attention.
The natural compounded stress of living in a house and working in an office, as well as commuting between them in traffic and in urban and suburban environments, takes its toll. Spending time surrounded by plants and trees can help to offload a lot of this stress by allowing a person’s attention to naturally settle, rather than constantly needing it to be redirected.
There is also an element of escape in reaching natural spaces when you are stressed. Since you spend so much of your time in an artificial environment, it can be a psychological relief to be able to flee when you are stressed, to the comparative safety and security of natural spaces, where the stresses of the office or home life melt away.
Just being able to change your environment and feel and experience something different can be a huge help to people when they are stressed or depressed.
You Think Better in Nature
Have you ever had a problem you just couldn’t solve, until you finally went for a walk and it finally clicked?
We are surrounded by stimuli every day, and sometimes we don’t have the space we need to actually think through our problems and come to solutions. Instead, we keep running over the same old ground and trying the same things that don’t work.
Being in nature helps your thought processes in many ways – by reducing your stress, increasing your focus via diffuse stimuli, and removing distractions. Taking a walk or doing sports in nature stimulates your body and your mind. All of this allows you to reach conclusions rather than ruminate on the problem.
Parks and Green Spaces are Physically, Socially, and Psychologically Healthy
Nature is meant for everyone, and anyone can access the benefits of forests and green spaces by just going outside. You don’t need to do anything special. As humans, we naturally relax in these environments, and simply being in the presence of nature is enough to have an effect.
However, you can get more out of your time in nature by spending it with others, doing sports or physical activities that stimulate your body, and giving yourself the space and time you need in nature to sort out your problems.