Ten Ways Mother Nature Knows Best

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After a stressful workload, there’s nothing better than going for a walk in the local parkway, taking in all the green and the fresh air. Unfortunately, such spaces are sacrificed in the name of progress, as 50% of all population live in urban areas, which is projected to rise to 70% come 2050. As this number increases, the number of people without access to natural areas is increasingly alarming.

As a result, mental health on urban people had been affected negatively by these urban developments, as the range of stimuli grows smaller. In a monotony of stone, metal, and glass, a little bit of the trees and sky does help improve one’s mood.

 

Natural spaces help with creativity and problem-solving skills. Studies showed a definitive rise in creativity and problem solving, according to a 2012 research published in PLoS One. You may have been stuck with what to do on a project or how to resolve a big crisis in the workplace. A trip to the local gardens later and you suddenly have a surge of ideas coming in through your mind. This is the power of nature.

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Depression can be alleviated by being with nature. As per the research in 2012 published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, a 50-minute walk in a nature setting proved to be of significant help for people with depression, as opposed to the same time spent in an urban environment. Seeing anything other than a dull gray or white does help refresh the soul.

“Whether you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or not, the evidence is strong that getting outside just for a little bit can be very helpful. It also makes you get more of a jump on your day — you feel you’ve already ‘done’ something by being out of your house — and if you pair it with exercise, even better,” says Andrea Bonior, PhD, clinical psychologist.

Green exercise can reduce anxiety levels. Exercise is advised on all people for general well-being, but a green activity has been proved to combat anxiety levels. Researchers have seen the effects of “green exercise,” reporting moderate short-term reductions in anxiety, and found that subjects in more natural environments have more significant decreases in anxiety levels.

“Exercise is key; speak to your primary care physician to see what kind of physical activity is right for you.”Amanda Zayde, PsyD

Natural spaces, urban or rural, can help mitigate stress for children and the elderly. Stress relief is among the primary goals for the millions of Americans in urban areas, as well as of the rest of the world’s city dwellers. Parks, playgrounds, and the like can be of help to children and the elderly, to mitigate the challenges posed by the urban setting.

When stressed, do gardening. It can help with grocery costs too, as you have your free spices/vegetables, within your backyard also. Instead of hiring a landscaper, you shall do it yourself, as per 2011 research from Van Den Burg and Custers.

A walk among nature is good for the heart. Being with nature has many benefits to a human being, and among the long list of them is an improvement in the cardiovascular function. It happens due to the association between the head reduction from natural environments and improved effect, which results in a protective mechanism on the cardiovascular services. Aside from it, drops in blood pressure, adrenaline and noradrenaline have been reported.

Green exercise helps with mood and self-esteem. Researchers suggested a healthy mix of exercise, social elements, and nature in future programs may help significantly with promoting mental healthcare.

Green space in any living settlement increases general health perception. Not everyone has the benefit of a natural environment. However, thoughtful planning of open spaces in urban areas has been seen to improve public health perception, according to a 2006 research found in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Nature can improve quality of life for the elderly. Over time, adults report a weakening in their quality of life, due to various medical issues and mental difficulties. A study done in 2015 found that nature does affect the lives of older adults positively. They added that with a better understanding of how a senior experiences health and landscape will better serve the need for a natural space.

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Natural environments can help with a woman’s daily emotional health. Just think: “My favorite piece of advice for coping with life’s ups and downs is remembering that the adversity and resulting emotional pain and turmoil that life brings us is both inevitable and temporary,” says Gabriela Parra, LCSW.

What with the almost stationary lifestyle that the corporate life often brings, it’s often associated with poor mental health among women. However, it takes more than merely getting off the workstation, as associating with a nature background daily helps with everyday mood.

How Nature Can Affect One’s Well-Being

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Research has shown that there is a correlation between stress levels and the environment we move on. Our senses can be affected anytime by mood, due to how the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems work at the time.

An unpleasant environment can cause a whole lot of negative emotions, ranging from sadness, anxiety, to helplessness. This raises one’s blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tensions. Besides, it inhibits your immune system, which is relied on to protect from diseases. To add, “Someone with generalized anxiety disorder might feel as if they’re in an elevated state of anxiety almost all of the time because their brain is signaling that danger is lurking close by.” Amy Morin LCSW explains. This is not good because it will provide fears without basis and cause havoc with your mental health.

Naturally, the opposite does the reverse of all that.

Regardless of age, background, or culture, humans always find something of awe in nature. One study cited in the book Healing Gardens found that about 2/3 of people choose a natural place to retreat when the stress and pressure get to them.

Nature Is A Healer.

The mere presence of oneself in a natural setting or even images of nature can help with reducing feelings of anger, fear, and stress. Additionally, this also helps stimulate good senses. Being exposed to nature has been linked to both emotional and physical wellbeing improvement. Among the listed benefits are blood pressure reduction, better heart rate, muscle relaxation, and regulation of stress hormones. It may even lengthen one’s lifespan, as far as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell are concerned. Even simple steps, such as having a potted plant in the room, can help hugely with stress and anxiety.

Nature Is Soothing.

“Our environment including where we live and work can to some extent affect the way we think, feel and behave, but this is a two-way street because the ways we think and feel can also draw us to certain types of environments,” says Dr. Denise Dillon.

When everything fails, nature is more than welcome to help us cope with our various pains. Due to our genetic coding to find nature elements captivating, that in turn helps us be distracted away from what we are currently feeling.

This was best demonstrated by a now well-known study of patients who underwent gallbladder surgery: half was assigned to a wall view, half was assigned to a view of trees. According to the conductor of the study, the physician Robert Ulrich, the half with the view of the trees coped better, reported fewer symptoms, and got discharged faster. More studies have been done recently, with scenes from nature and plants, saying the same results.

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Nature Is Restorative.

One that has been garnering much discussion in current research is the impact of nature in one’s general wellbeing. According to study, 95% of interviewees related that their mood improved as they spent time in the outdoors, reporting a change from a depressive mood, a stressful aura, and anxiety, to a more calm and balanced state. Further studies indicate natural scenery often is associated with a positive mood & psychological fitness.

Also, time spent with nature or viewing nature sceneries increases attention span, the ability to pay attention. Because of the natural fascination of nature by humans, we then can naturally turn our focus on our current experience in nature.

Surprisingly, research on ADHD children by Andrea Taylor reveals that exposure to nature helps lengthen attention span, which is notoriously short in children with ADHD.

(“Feeling chronically overwhelmed can certainly shorten someone’s fuse,” said clinical psychologist Ari Tuckman, PsyD. Also, “people with ADHD may feel like they need to defend themselves or justify their actions too often and thereby react more angrily than they otherwise would.”)

Nature And You Will Connect.

Tests and research conducted by the team of Kuo and Coley at the Human-Environment Research Lab indicated that the time spent in nature could connect people with his surroundings. Another study from the University of Illinois had suggested that residents who had either trees or green space around them reported knowing more people, being more connected with the community, and a general feeling of helpfulness. The sentiments were indicated lower in subjects without such features around their buildings.

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This feeling can be attributed to a study done with fMRI which measure brain activity. When subjects viewed natural sceneries, they reported better moods, associated with empathy. Subjects viewing urban scenes have their feelings of fear and anxiety raised, they said. As the studies show, nature ultimately helps us connect.

Nature Will Lessen Your “Depression” Days

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It is often attested that the location of your home has an impact on your well-being. Your surroundings impinge on your blood pressure, on the levels of your stress, on how likely you will be afflicted with specific diseases and on your general health. Because of these factors, many individuals prefer the quiet and calm communities outside the city, over the hustle and bustle of living in a highly urbanized area.

A newly published report has concluded that individuals residing near “Mother Nature” tend to be less anxious, less depressed, and are physically healthier, compared to individuals dwelling in urbanized areas. Individuals who live less than a kilometer from Mother Nature tend to be mentally healthier and less likely to be afflicted with diseases that are either respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, neurological, or musculoskeletal.

The report investigated the medical records maintained by approximately two hundred doctors who serve more than three hundred thousand Dutch individuals. It also noted that people living within three kilometers of Mother Nature are less likely to be suffering from depression and anxiety compared to those living further away from Mother Nature.

“The constant stimulation of city life can propel the body into a stressful state, known as the fight-or-flight response. That can make us more vulnerable to mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use. This might help explain why 19.1 percent of Americans live with an anxiety disorder, while 6.7 percent have depression,” says Julie Fraga, psychologist.

Those investigators are uncertain exactly how Mother Nature relates to or affects the individuals’ well-being. However, they propose it may be associated with the improved standard of the air they breathe as well as higher chances for the individuals to exercise, socialize, and relax.

They also stated that the impact on the individual’s well-being by the presence of Mother Nature in the individual’s surroundings where they dwell could not be underrated.

“Our environment including where we live and work can to some extent affect the way we think, feel and behave, but this is a two-way street because the ways we think and feel can also draw us to certain types of environments,” says Dr. Denise Dillon.

Going Outside And Using Mother Nature More

You might find it impossible to move and get a new job, find a new home, and displace your children so that you can live nearer to Mother Nature. However, you can still reap the health rewards of Mother Nature by using the eight tips below.

Tip 1: Take a stroll. Walking around your neighborhood, even if it is only for a short time will improve your emotional state. You should do this every day. If you find this difficult to do, arrange to have a friend stroll with you.

Tip 2: Join a sports activity. With a sports activity, you will be exercising a lot and breathing in lots of clean air. This will help you fight depression. Get a friend to go bowling with you or gather a group of friends for a game of basketball.

“Exercise is key; speak to your primary care physician to see what kind of physical activity is right for you.”

Amanda Zayde, PsyD

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Tip 3: Go on a picnic. Eating outside gives you a new view and a refreshing outlook. You could go to the beach and have lunch there. Or you could have brunch at a park.

Tip 4: Do volunteer work. There are several volunteer work that can be done outside. You could collect trash from the roadside. You could walk dogs from the local dog shelter. The emotional satisfaction you get from volunteer work is also a great way of fighting depression.

Tip 5: Go on a joy ride. If Mother Nature is not within walking distance from where you live, take your car and ride to Mother Nature. But be sure that it’s not the long-distance as this could be stressful.

Tip 6: Read a magazine or a book. Go and sit at a park bench and read a magazine or a book. This is especially restful if there’s a soft wind caressing you.

Tip 7: Go shopping outdoors. Do your grocery shopping at an outdoor market.

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Tip 8: Maintain a garden. You can bring Mother Nature to your home by maintaining a garden.

If you are so intensely anxious or so profoundly depressed that you do not want to go outside, you should get professional help. You can cope with any emotional or mental health issue with the proper treatment involving therapeutic drugs, counseling, and communing with Mother Nature.