The healing touch of nature has been romanticized in poetry and music for a long time but it is only recently that modern scientific research has found evidence for the same. The rejuvenation and satisfaction that comes with being in nature can be attributed to more than ‘just a feeling’; scientists are showing us that we need nature to thrive.
Nature is accommodating and accessible at all times- it offers something for everyone. The outdoors do not always have to be an enemy if you are disabled. Being in nature and getting immersed can have numerous psychological benefits.
Research has found that contact with nature is linked to more happiness, subjective well-being, positive social interactions, the installation of a sense of purpose in life, and reduction in mental distress.
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
Spending time outdoors can decrease stress and anxiety, even if it is for a temporary period. Getting lost in nature allows you to forget your problems and focus on the larger picture. Nature greets you gently with a comforting breeze and soothing landscapes that calm your nerves. The longer you spend in a natural environment, the more accustomed you will become to the serenity. Furthermore, time in nature also instills a sense of belonging to the bigger world, which helps improve mental health.
2. Increases feelings of happiness
The moment you step out into nature and feel the warmth of the Sun, you will feel happier and more positive towards life. The idea is that nature helps us feel psychologically restored within a short duration. You do not always have to be in a proper forest or hiking trail to feel these effects.
Stepping into a natural atmosphere like a park within the city will also lift your mood instantly. Research also shows that a 90-minute walk in nature can reduce activity in the part of the brain associated with a negative rumination which allows us to focus on the more positive aspects of our lives.
3. Encourages kindness and leads to positive social interactions
You might be surprised to know this, but spending time in nature can also improve your personal relationships. The feeling of positivity associated with nature and its beauty leads to more prosocial behaviors such as compassion, generosity, and empathy.
Sometimes we tend to distance ourselves from everyone because we do not want to be seen as ‘different, but all human beings crave a community. The feeling of being a part of something larger than ourselves makes us feel loved. Spending time in nature will help you develop closer relationships with the people around you because you will feel more comfortable opening yourself up to possibilities.
4. Increases concentration and inspires creativity
Sometimes you need to take a break from the rest of the world and escape the hectic schedule for some time. Spending time in nature will leave you refreshed, and you will be able to resume work with renewed concentration because your brain will have experienced a necessary break. Nature makes it fairly easy for you to unwind because you can immerse your senses completely.
If you feel like you are in a rut and need a burst of inspiration, spending time in nature is a great solution. A study found that spending four days in nature increased problem-solving skills by 50%. Sometimes, sitting amidst trees on a blanket can be more productive than slaving away within the four walls of your room.
You might not be able to experience all the benefits as soon as you start spending time in nature, but the positive effects will be apparent in the long run.
How can you spend time in nature?
Sometimes it can be tedious to allot time in our schedules to spend time in nature. The key is to not let it become a chore and be a little spontaneous. Once you become comfortable with it, you will develop a happy habit. If you are worried that spending time outdoors might be too tiring, don’t be. There are plenty of ways you can spend time in nature without making the process too exhausting.
- If you love physical activity and fitness, you can take walks or go for hikes regularly. The fresh air will do you good even if you can only spare thirty minutes. They engage all the senses, and it becomes easier to access hidden emotions. It is quite an experience to understand which activities or aspects of nature lead to pure joy in our hearts.
- If you are an animal lover, you can head to a nearby zoo to spend some quality time amidst trees and animals under the open sky.
- If you want serenity and tranquility, head to a nearby park with a pond and sit on a bench for some time. Reflect on your day and focus on the positives.
- Seasonal activities can be the perfect excuse to head out into nature and spend some quality time in nature. Pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and corn mazes are ideal destinations,
In order to enjoy nature in its truest form, you should:
- Sit: Do not forget to sit down and soak in the ambiance for at least 15-20 minutes. Make an effort to immerse all your senses and block negative thoughts.
- Explore: It is comforting to visit the same place repeatedly, but you should be open to exploration. Navigating a new place occasionally can be a thrilling experience.
- Learn: If you have any questions about a discovery you make, ask. The more you understand your surroundings, the more you will feel connected.
At Exploryst, we believe it is vital to develop proper equipment and mobility devices to help the disability community experience nature more adventurously and worry less about the logistics. Nothing should remain inaccessible so that everyone can develop their confidence slowly but steadily while trying new things. Being creative and spontaneous is a great way to control one’s interaction with the natural world. Having the freedom to play and experiment is bound to make nature more lovable and approachable. Want to explore more free things to do? Click here to learn more.