Select Page

In the digital age, people are glued to their phones at all hours of the day. Factor in sedentary lifestyles, and we are damaging our mental and physical well-being. This is why we all need to get out—we mean this in the kindest way possible.

Spend time outdoors, immerse yourself in nature, and you’ll be on the path to better health and wellness.

Getting Nurtured by Nature: 11 Benefits

Here are some research-backed benefits of spending quality time in nature:

1. Helps Vision

Spending time outdoors could prevent the onset of myopia. It can also slow down the myopic shift in refractive error, which can make it hard to see clearly and lead to blurry vision. Plus, if you time your adventure right, you can clock in some time in the sun and maintain optimal vitamin D levels. As we know, this can improve eye health.

In fact, research on 14 to 19-year-olds showed that sun exposure can have a protective benefit. It can make one about 25% less likely to develop myopia in middle age.

2. Improves Mood

Nature sounds can decrease pain, lower stress levels, improve mood, and boost cognitive performance. Connecting to nature can also provide greater eudaimonic well-being, a type of contentment that includes having a purpose or goal in life.

So, listen to birdsong to evoke feelings of comfort and joy or watch the ebb and flow of waves to induce a calming, meditative state. Your brain will thank you for it.

3. Increases Energy

Spending time in nature offers restoration from mental fatigue, proving that nature fuels the soul.

Research has also shown that 90% of people reported increased energy when doing outdoor activities. This could be because sunlight boosts serotonin levels, which regulate energy balance, intake, and expenditure.

4. Boosts Creativity

Nature has inspired the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Albert Einstein—and it can do the same for you. A study has shown that just four days of immersion in nature, disconnected from media and technology, can increase performance on a creative, problem-solving task by 50%.

5. Supports Longevity

There is an association between exposure to nature, high levels of physical activity, and lower risk of cardiovascular health. Moreover, spending time outdoors on forest bathing trips (Shinrin Yoku in Japanese) can increase natural killer activity. This can kill tumor cells by releasing anti-cancer proteins like perforin, GRN, and GrA/B.

These beneficial outcomes could help you live longer.

And this is not a simple correlation. A prospective cohort study of women has shown that greater exposure to higher levels of green vegetation had a 12% lower rate of all-cause, non-accidental mortality.

6. Improves Sleep Quality

Are you having trouble sleeping or staying asleep? Increase your exposure to natural sunlight. It can reset your body’s internal clock, which can help regulate your circadian rhythm. One study suggests that this can improve sleep, and another shows that it can increase sleep duration, possibly by advancing sleep timing.

And because vitamin D is involved in melatonin production, getting a daily dose of sunlight could take you far in dreamland. Just remember to put on sunscreen!

7. Lowers Blood Pressure

Ultraviolet exposure creates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. This is backed by a dose-response analysis of 1,538 Australian citizens, which showed significantly fewer cases of high blood pressure in people who visited green areas for at least 30 minutes once a week.

8. Supports Mental Health

Spending time in nature increases endorphin levels and dopamine production, which reduces irritability. So, it’s not surprising that those living around green lots experienced substantial decreases in self-reported depression, poor mental health, and feelings of worthlessness compared to those in lots that had no intervention.

And if you can’t make your way outdoors, find a green spot to focus your attention on, even for a limited time. In one study, students who paused to gaze at a flowering green roof for a few seconds made significantly fewer mistakes in a dull, attention-draining task than their counterparts who looked at a concrete rooftop.

9. Reduces Feelings of Stress

Time spent outdoors, particularly in green spaces, could help reduce the experience of stress. It lowers cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in your system. Note that its efficiency is greatest between 20 and 30 minutes.

10. Enhances Immune Response

Going outside exposes you to various organisms, which can help your immune system learn how to hit the ideal spot between attack and tolerance mechanisms. As such, it influences measurable immunological parameters in everyone: healthy individuals and those with acute or chronic inflammatory conditions.

It can also improve health outcomes. A 2005 study of patients undergoing spinal surgery showed that those exposed to an increased intensity of sunlight experienced less perceived stress and marginally less pain. They also took 22% less analgesic medication per hour. So, if you are experiencing muscle tension, you know what to do.

11. Improves Short-term Memory & Focus

Do you have trouble retaining information? Take a walk outside and spend time in nature. It’s been shown to improve the performance of those wandering amongst the trees by almost 20%.

A comparison of 13 experiments has also shown that it can improve working memory, recall, and goal-oriented attention.


How to Make Spending Time in Nature A Regular Part of Your Routine

Here are some ways you can incorporate nature into your daily routine:

  • Start your mornings with sunlight. You don’t necessarily have to go outside—we know how hectic weekdays can be! Instead, draw the curtains open to let the rays in; it will trigger the release of serotonin and boost your mood.
  • Eat lunch outside: focus on the sensory experience to decrease stress.
  • Hang a bird feeder. This will increase the activity of birds around your home, providing enjoyment and pleasure.
  • Invite nature into your home. Maximize natural light, let fresh air in, beautify the space with aromatic plants, and take a nature-first approach to your interior decor.
  • Engage in outdoor activities. Take a walk in a garden or park, paint a nature scene, go on a picnic with your loved ones, go birdwatching—there’s a lot you can do!

It’s essential to find spots you will be excited to return to. Relate your outdoor excursions to a hobby and develop a lasting personal connection.


Take Home Message

Now that you know just how beneficial spending time outdoors can be, disconnect from your digital cocoon and indulge in activities that make you one with nature and generate positive emotions. It will surely benefit your mental and physical health.