I found this article recently about the positive effects that spending time outside has on us.

What I found interesting was that in one study among office workers, even the view of nature out a window was associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.

Another study found that people’s mental energy bounced back even when they just looked at pictures of nature. (Pictures of city scenes had no such effect.)

That got me thinking about how the subconscious doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. When we imagine being in nature our subconscious believes that it is really there. This has a similar effect to actually being there. So if we can’t be in nature the next best thing is to imagine as if you really are there and you can quickly reduce your stress levels.

Read more in the article below.

  • There’s good reason to think spending time in forests, hiking in mountains, and just spending time outside has huge health benefits.
  • Studies have shown that walking in the woods can improve everything from blood pressure to mental health to cancer risk.
  • So go spend some time “forest-bathing” and improve your health.

Many people spend workdays indoors under fluorescent lights and in front of computers, then return home to bask in the glow of television screens.

But spending too much time inside isn’t good for us. And nature is beneficial – maybe essential – for human health. Psychologists and health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should spend time outside.

In her book, “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative,” journalist Florence Williams writes that she started investigating the health benefits of nature after moving from the mountainous terrain of Boulder, Colorado, to what she describes as “the anti-Arcadia that is the nation’s capital” – Washington, DC.

“I felt disoriented, overwhelmed, depressed,” she wrote. “My mind had trouble focusing. I couldn’t finish thoughts. I couldn’t make decisions and I wasn’t keen to get out of bed.”

We don’t all need to live in a place as stunning as Boulder – and most of us can’t get live anywhere too remote for smartphones or internet access.

But we do need to spend time in natural environments. That could be beautiful hiking trails or even just a nice park. Walk in the forest, play in the snow, swim in a river. Do whatever you can to expose yourself to the natural world around you.

Here’s why it’s so important.

It has a de-stressing effect.

Something about being outdoors changes the physical expression of stress in the body.

One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol – a hormone often used as a marker for stress – than those who spent that time in the city.

In another study, researchers found a decrease in both heart rate and levels of cortisol in subjects in the forest when compared to those in the city. “Stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy,” they concluded.

Among office workers, even the view of nature out a window is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.

The outdoors helps eliminate fatigue.

You know that feeling where your brain seems to be sputtering to a halt? Researchers call that “mental fatigue.”

One thing that can help get your mind back into gear is exposing it to restorative environments, which, research has found, generally means the great outdoors. One study found that people’s mental energy bounced back even when they just looked at pictures of nature. (Pictures of city scenes had no such effect.)

Studies have also found that natural beauty can elicit feelings of awe, which is one of the surest ways to experience a mental boost.

This article appeared in full at https://www.businessinsider.com/why-spending-more-time-outside-is-healthy-2017-7#wP9bTrchDY1XKPox.99