Canadian springs give us the perfect excuse to get outside. Here are 5 facts about nature and our mental health:
- When we walk in nature, rumination decreases. We all fall into the trap of the worry cycle – something gets stuck in our thought process and will lead to us ruminating about it. When we go for a walk outside, nature tends to take care of that for us; perhaps through a greater sense of overall calmness.
- Nature helps to manage stress. Exercise, movement, awe, a sense of wonder – all of it helps to reduce the frayed, frazzled feeling and replaces it with a sense of being grounded.
- Being outdoors decreases cortisol and increases dopamine. Brain activity associated with being out in nature indicates that the calming effect of green space can affect our brain chemicals – leading to an overall feeling of increased happiness. Sunlight exposure increases serotonin which helps to ward off the symptoms of depression.
- Nature has restorative properties. We tend to be more focused in nature, more creative and feel more resilient.
- We sleep better. Being outside at low light (morning and evening) can help to reset our circadian rhythm, leading to more time in slow wave sleep (our most restorative stage of sleep.)
Getting outside daily in nature or an urban green space is a cost effective and simple way to support our emotional health. Setting it as a daily non-negotiable is a sure fire way of leading with balance and conscious choice to support mental health.