The Ultimate Stress-buster: Why It’s So Relaxing to Be with Nature

Have you ever wondered why nature is among the first things we think of when we want to relax and ease the stress? Nothing sounds better than the fresh, cool breeze from the ocean or the pleasant greens of the mountain when you’re craving for some peace and quiet. The truth is that it’s not just the silence and stillness of nature that soothe you. Here are other science-backed reasons you feel at peace with nature:

It lowers stress hormone levels

According to a recent study, just 20 to 30 minutes of strolling or sitting in a place that allows you to see and interact with nature can reduce cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. In previous research, scientists also found that their participants who spent significant time in the woodland — popularly known as “forest bathing” — didn’t just have lower cortisol levels in the body but also low blood pressure. These studies point to the fact that nature immersion can literally de-stress. 

But you can’t just leave your work, go to the mountains outside the city, and do some forest bathing whenever you want to. Still, you can reap the same rewards by doing simple activities such as walking in the park or sitting and meditating in your garden room. The important thing is to commit to nature immersion every day. Be intentional in planning your nature-related activities so that you can maximize the rewards.

It gives your brain a downtime

The brain needs 20% of all your body energy. When you’re doing a task that requires more focus, that requirement goes up by five to 10%. This explains why you feel tired after a series of meetings at work even though you have hardly moved a leg or an arm. When you’re with nature, though, it puts your body to rest as it easily lets your mind wander. 

Once you’re in this daydreaming state, the default mode network (DMN) in the brain gets activated. DMN is a complex group of brain structures that allow mental processes essential to understanding human behavior and self-concept and forming an internal code of ethics. This is why after spending some quiet time in one of your grandmother’s luxury garden rooms, you feel like you’re more in touch with your thoughts. Your internal being is refocused and reoriented.

It normalizes your sleep schedule

Woman meditating in field

Sunlight is the natural light you get from spending time outdoors. It helps regulate your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for your internal clock. It’s also what people call the sleep hormone; the body produces it in preparation for slumber. The pineal gland, which produces this body chemical, gets cues from the light. During the day, when there’s a lot of light, it’s inactive. During the night, when there’s an absence of light, it’s switched on. When the body has the right amount of melatonin, which you can achieve when you spend ample time outdoors, you get a good night’s sleep. You wake up well recharged. You greet mornings with no stress but with sheer peace.

If you’ve been so stressed out with everything in life lately, immerse yourself in nature. You don’t have to go out of town for the beach or the mountains. A quiet afternoon in your garden may do.

 

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