Whether you have ever been a self-proclaimed nature enthusiast, a tree hugger, or not, you should know that trees metaphorically hug back. The fact is, nature is good for us. Ecopsychology is a legitimate area of psychological study focused on the link between nature and the human mind. Numerous studies have shown that immersing yourself in a natural environment brings about all kinds of positives for people, both emotionally and physically. Check out the known benefits of spending time in nature.
1. Lowers Stress Levels
Feeling stressed out, anxious, or moody? Slip on your shoes and head outdoors, if you feel like hugging a tree, go for it! Ecopsychology proves that being in nature substantially lowers the levels of stress levels in the body and may even help you respond better to stress. Maybe this is why a study of 2,000 people in the UK found that people in one community who spent more time in nature also enjoyed much lower crime rates in the neighborhood.
2. Enhances Immune System Function
Looking to give your immune system a boost? Good reason to get in some time out in the open air. When you spend time outdoors, you are exposed to tiny microorganisms that basically force the immune system to run practice drills. These practice drills build up the response cycles the body needs when you actually do get sick to help you get better faster.
3. Promotes Relaxation
If you have a hard time winding down at the end of the day, a short walk worked in somewhere during your waking hours may be a good way to rest easy a little, well, easier. Getting in some sunlight and partaking in outdoor activities promotes an overall sense of relaxation, including mental well-being.
4. Makes You Feel Less Alone
One study even found that spending some time out in the great outdoors, especially while gardening, helped people feel less isolated. In fact, being outside seems to encourage pro-social behavior. In other words, if you get out in the grass and among the trees, you may feel more inclined to make friends or spend time with people in general.
5. Good to Your Eyes
Studies have shown that children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to have problems with nearsightedness. When you are out there in the big natural world with much more to look at than what is right in front of you, you give your eyes a workout. This may have long-term vision benefits.
Go ahead—hug a tree!
If you have waddled into a repetitive cycle of sofa-surfing, desk-sitting, and indoor days, it may be time to readjust your everyday habits. Your time outside can be beneficial to both your body and your mind. So, go ahead. Don’t be ashamed to go out and grab the nearest tree for a hug or caress your feet with a soft patch of grass in the sunshine.