Step outside and take a deep breath. There’s something about being surrounded by nature that just makes us feel better. Whether the feeling of clarity that we feel when we step into nature is caused by negative ions or it’s just a change of pace from the indoor life that we live at work, nature does have an impact on our wellbeing. At Purlife we love how nature heals both spiritually as well as physically, so we try to bring as much of that energy into our daily lives. Here is how nature affects your wellbeing:
Being Outside Connects Us With Each Other And The World Around Us
It’s well documented that spending prolonged periods of time in urban settings or inside rooms away from nature has negative effects on our health and our mental wellbeing. The reality is that between poor air quality and the dingy scenery of buildings can make us feel anxious, tired, and isolated from the world.
Humans need to be outside in nature among fresh air and water sources in order for our maximize our wellbeing. This has been proven through studies that looked at fMRI measurements of the brains of participants who were shown scenes of nature versus scenes of urban cities. The studies showed that participants who viewed nature scenes activated unique areas of the brain including areas associated with spacial awareness, circadian rhythm, and areas associated with dreaming.
Nature Allows You To Heal Heals
When you spend prolonged periods of time living in a city away from nature you are more likely to experience health issues such as respiratory conditions. The culprit here is air pollution. Air pollutants can irritate your airways and cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and asthma episodes.
That being said, nature can help you heal. Breathing in clean air, like that provided when you are in nature around plants, can help you breathe easier. Plants placed in hospitals have been shown to help patients recover quicker, reduce negativity, and in a 2008 study even decreased the need for certain pain medications.
Nature Is Soothing
Nature is shown to have an abundance of negative ions. Negatively ionized oxygen promotes alpha brain waves and increases brain wave amplitude which relaxes and soothes you. It’s the calming sensation that we feel when we stand near a waterfall or on the shoreline as the water breaks. This increase in oxygen also has an effect on the amount of serotonin our brain produces as well which can elevate our mood and relax us.
Nature Restores Your Positive Mood
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Principal Investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab (PEPLab), has written about how nature can increase positive behaviors in people. Studies show that people who spend more time outdoors have better, more positive moods, expanded thinking, and find more meaning in life than their peers.