With all the technology around, it is tempting to stay inside and soak up experiences via our laptops or smart devices in the modern world. Yet, the outside world has many benefits for our health, which we shouldn’t ignore. The greatest of these benefits is our physical and mental health, helping us unplug and recharge our inner energy.
Gaining solace and renewal from energy is not a new concept. For over three decades, Japanese Shinrin-Yoku Forest Therapy, or Forest Bathing, was a powerful practice that became a part of the Japanese health programme. Many studies into this programme have offered the scientific evidence behind what most of us saw as common sense has now become fixed in practice.
Here we explore some of these benefits in some detail.
One of the most important benefits of life today is the power it must reduce our stress. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are at a crisis level. The consequence of these mental stresses is also physical, as obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease are all connected with stress.
Some stress in our lives is a good thing because it motivates us to act. However, too much stress can build up and lead to burnout. The way to counter burnout is by releasing some of the pressure. Imagine our mental health similar to a boiler that builds up with steam, and to prevent an explosion, you need valves to release it.
For humans, one such valve that releases this pressure is nature. It allows us to live life through our senses without constantly analysing our past and future. In nature, we can be present and enjoy the moment. It can be even beneficial for those looking to reduce the issue in the workplace, as employers can offer gardens or site offices in beautiful places with windows out over the view.
Strengthens your immunity
Our susceptibility to picking up illnesses is governed by the strength of our immunity. Staying indoors weakens our immune system, as we have limited access to sunlight, fresh air, and expansive views. Scientific studies of forest bathing showed that white blood cells stayed elevated for more than 30 days after they spent time in the woods. It is these blood cells that power our body to fight illness.
Increase your focus
Studies prove that exposure to nature helps improve our focus. These studies explored the experience of those with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and how an experience of nature improved their ability to concentrate. Consequently, it significantly improved their performance on tasks.
The ramifications of the links between nature and focus can be positively employed by organisations looking to get more from workers. Creative problems solving can be boosted, as can other cognitive functions. It could mean that away days have a massive return on investment, such as occasional workdays in the wilderness.
Encourages a healthier diet
The link between your garden and your diet could be strengthened, so you grow fruit and vegetables and use these in your meals. By being outdoors planting and nourishing your garden, you can provide yourself with the sustenance to maintain a healthy diet.
Even out in the wild, you can forage for foods that can enhance meals. There are restaurants completely themed around the foods that can be found in nature, and going in search of these can give a great purpose to your trip into nature.
Aids weight management
From all these other benefits, there is an additional positive benefit. Exercising regularly and healthy eating naturally leads to good weight management. Making sure you are a healthy weight is often made complex by schemes thought up to make money. By reducing calorie intake and increasing exercise, you will naturally create a healthy attitude toward your weight.
Improve your vision
Your eyes also benefit from being out in nature. We spend a lot of time working in close quarters and reading from a screen, and being out in nature allows us to focus on the horizon and get a dose of sunlight that improves eye health. It is particularly important to encourage outside play with children to help their eye development as they grow.
Nature is a valuable resource, and it is not just a means for ensuring the health of the world’s environment but also the individual health of the population. Getting out and about can revolutionise your physical and mental well-being. So, the question now is: when is your next outing?