When was the last time you went outside? I’m not talking about running to the store when you are out of milk. I’m talking about really allowing yourself some time outdoors to connect with nature. There have been numerous studies done on the impact of spending time in nature and how it affects your mental health. Did you know it also boosts your creativity?
Being outdoors makes us feel more alive! It gives us energy, makes us happier and helps us relieve the everyday stresses of our overscheduled lives. It also opens the door to creativity. Just the sights and sounds of nature can immediately make you feel more relaxed. Take a walk or ride your bike on a nature trail and just try not to notice the textures of the leaves and trees against the backdrop of a beautiful blue sky. It may be the first time you realize how many actual shades of green exist on the color wheel!
If you’ve been using your brain to multitask—as most of us do, most of the day—it is speculated that the more we bury ourselves in technology, ignoring the natural world around us, the more damage we are doing to our brains. All the access we have to technical gadgets can actually negatively affect our pre-frontal cortex. A simple 20 minutes outside enjoying nature can significantly decrease our levels of cortisol, a hormone stress indicator. Taking advantage of a “blue-green” environment includes spending time close to water and has been proven to relax our brains and increase our energy levels even quicker. As a result, we see bursts of creativity, problem-solving and feelings of enhanced well-being.
With all of these benefits of being out in nature, it is probably no surprise that being closer to Mother Nature herself helps us to be kinder to others. Research at the University of California, Berkeley, revealed that after being exposed to beautiful nature scenes, participants acted more generously, trustful, and helpful toward others. Considering these are all factors which might influence our important relationships, do your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors a favor, GO outside!