Do you spend the majority of your time staring at a phone, computer, tablet, or another screen? It’s time to disconnect, unplug, and get some fresh air.
Nature connection is therapeutic. Have you ever heard of the term “forest bathing”? It simply means being in nature, and it’s gaining popularity due to the mental and physical health benefits.
Unplugging and getting outside, with no objective other than to experience the world around you, has been proved to improve your well-being in studies. Spending time in nature has been shown to boost cognition, lower stress hormones, and lessen sadness and anxiety symptoms, among other benefits.
Being in nature can help you de-stress and relax by clearing your mind and bringing you into the present moment.
How can you go out of your house and office and enjoy your natural surroundings? According to the American Heart Association, there are several ways to unwind in nature, including:
- Watch the sunrise or sunset — Get up early to see the sunrise, or go to a nearby hilltop to see the sunset. It might assist you in preparing for the day ahead as well as de-stressing after a long day.
- Take a relaxing, meandering walk in a park, garden, nature preserve, or local path – Let go of your thoughts and focus on the present moment.
- Go to the beach – Nothing beats hearing the waves crashing on the shore, feeling the sand under your toes, and staring out at the sea to unwind your body and mind.
- Take a trip to the mountains or a lake – Kick back and relax in the mountains or beside a lake, where the air is crisp and pure and you can take in the scenery.
- Take a yoga or meditation class in the park instead of going to the studio. Alternatively, choose a peaceful area outside and practice mindful meditation.
- Disconnect and make nature your home by going camping or having a picnic. At night, pitch a tent and sit around a campfire. Alternatively, bring a picnic, grab a friend, and dine alfresco.
Focus on your senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch when you’re outside. According to research, activating the five senses can aid in the promotion of emotions of peace and relaxation.
Look up at the enormous sky, the lush greenery of the trees, the calm river, or the majesty of the mountain peaks. Listen to the birds singing or the seagulls calling, the breeze through the trees, a babbling brook, or the sound of the waves on the shore.
Take a deep breath and inhale the scents of the beach, lake, or forest. Some plants emit immune-boosting substances into the air, and exposure to sunshine is considered to improve levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Place your hands on a tree trunk, or dip your fingers in a stream, and feel the sand between your toes.
If you must, block off time on your calendar to spend outside, and leave your devices at home. Allow your thoughts to relax in nature, take a deep, relaxing breath, and enjoy improved health.