Humans find nature pleasing. Being in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases positive feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Studies done in Japan found that taking a walk in nature brings the average city dweller a 12 percent decrease in cortisol levels and 7 percent decrease in sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nerve activity. Others found that the act of walking in a forest can actually reduce inflammation in the body. Researchers in the United States concluded that 90 minutes of exposure to the natural world is enough to overcome negative thought patterns. This change can lower risk of depression. Research published in Psychological Science found one hour of interacting with nature, such as a walk in a park, increased memory and attention span by 20 percent.
Do You Suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder?
So how do you get out in the nature while having a busy life? Schedule it in, like you would any other important appointment. After all, it is your health you are helping to maintain. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss an “appointment”. It is well known that humans need a couple of months (66 days, according to research) to make a new habit. Don’t think it is less important than meeting your monthly sales goal or attending all the happy hours. You have this one body to use for the rest of your life. It is so easy to forget when we are stuck in our daily grind, sitting in the cubicle and worrying about some nonsense that means nothing. Stick with your decision, and your new habit will become automatic.