The Natural Way to Reduce Stress
I’m just back from a two-week vacation in Wyoming, USA – touring Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks and every one of those 14 days was spent outdoors. (You can read my blog about our trip to Yellowstone here) I don’t know about you, but for me there’s nothing better than breathing fresh air and being surrounded by natural beauty.
We intuitively know that being out in beautiful green spaces is good for us. And you know what? We’re right! Even back in the the 16th-century German-Swiss physician, Paracelsus, gave voice to that same intuition when he wrote, “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician.” There wasn’t much hard evidence then—but there is now.
But you don’t need to fly across the ocean or have two weeks outside to feel the benefits - even one-time exposure to nature reduces stress. Short-term studies show that exposure to green space and nature reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, heart rate and blood pressure within five minutes.
In fact, just looking out the window on nature helps. Among office workers, even the view of nature out a window is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction. And in hospitals, patients who can see trees and grass have been shown to recover faster.
And you know what, it gets even better if you get moving outdoors!
‘Green Exercise’ – Better than Prozac?
Green exercise is activity in the presence of nature. Evidence shows anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues may all be eased by some time in the great outdoors — especially when that's combined with exercise.
So what are you waiting for? If you're feeling stressed, anxious or down, find a way to be in nature. Look out a window, take a walk in the park, or just sit under a tree. The evidence speaks for itself.