A Dose of Healing… From Nature?
That’s right, nature delivers a power packed shot of medicine! We are wired to spend time moving our bodies, breathing fresh air, being around trees, grass and beautiful landscapes. But so often us modern busy-bees spend time outdoors, away from computer screens WAY less frequently then our health and wellbeing calls for.
Did you know that most Americans have lowered levels of vitamin D which can lead to depression, lack of energy and even a decreased immune system? That’s right we NEED sunshine. We also need nature. Being in nature reduces anxiety, anger, fear, and stress and increases feelings of wellbeing and happiness. All of which increase our immune system function AND support our parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Sometimes called the rest and digest system, the parasympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and increases gut health, digestion, decreases internal inflammation and acidity.
Exposure to the outdoors not only makes you feel better mentally and emotionally, it increases your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones in addition to the benefits of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Research shows that being in nature can reduce stress significantly, which in turn also positively impacts our bodies wellness through how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working. Furthermore, there is a body of evidence, proving what we all know to be true: nature is good for us and has both long and short term mental and physical health benefits.
Some additional health benefits of being out in nature”
- Produces feelings of calmness & clarity
- Boosts energy
- Positively impacts your vision
- Sunlight helps reduce pain
- Stimulates brain function
Being in nature for only 20-30 minutes a day has a hugely positive impact on physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing. It fights depression and anxiety and improves inner peace.
For all of these reasons, as a Doctor of Natural Medicine I highly recommend that people spend more time outdoors, in nature. Try to make it a daily practice. Incorporate nature into your mindfulness and spiritual practices as well as your health and self-care rituls.