"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." ~Aristotle
The Healing Gifts of Nature
Human well-being depends on nature's benefits, which are free and accessible everyday, everywhere. Think about taking a walk in a beautiful park, strolling barefoot on a sandy beach, planting a summer garden, or dashing in the rain to seek cover. Being connected to nature's element brings us joy, comfort, and good health. In fact, the outdoors can offer relief from negativity and more. Here are a few good reasons to connect with nature:
It can lower depression and perceived stress. A large-scale study found that individuals who walked at least once a week in a natural outdoor environment (verses an urban walk) reduced depression and stress, and significantly enhanced well-being.¹ This is a great reason to take a walk during your lunch or after work for a mood-booster.
It may improve your mental health. There is synergy between the psychological benefits of physical activity and the restorative effects of being connected to a natural environment; physical activity in nature produced better mental health benefits according to a large study².
It can strengthen immunity. Researchers at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo found that women who spent six hours in the woods over the course of two days had an increase in virus- and tumor-fighting white blood cells; the effect lasted for seven days.³ Several other similar studies showed the benefit of "forest bathing" on human health, including its ability to lower cardiovascular disease risk factors.4
Our modern world is full of new technology, urban living, and is somewhat disconnected with nature. Think about how many hours you spend in front of your computer, on your cell phone, or indoors with artificial light. Direct physical contact with the surface of the planet, also known as "earthing" or "grounding," generates a type of electric nutrition that has potent and rapid anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.4 Earthing has many intriguing beneficial physiological effects on the human system, which is why it is so important to connect with nature daily as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help you connect daily with nature for improved health:
Take a walk outdoors in a non-urban area (a park, a beach, a wooded-hiking trail, a lakefront). Enjoy the smells of nature and be sure to spend time touching water, dirt, sand, or rocks.
Find a patch of grass and walk barefoot. This is a common practice at Sanoviv, where daily earthing is an important part of the day. Be sure the grass where you choose to walk or sit, has not been treated with pesticides.
Build a type of sandbox for under your desk, especially if you spend many hours working on your computer. A small mat with edges, filled with smooth rocks or sand, can help ground you indoors, or during cold weather.
Consider making a bathmat with smooth river rocks. Every day when you step out of your shower, you can step onto an earth-friendly bathmat for drying off and for grounding.
Get out in the backyard. Whether you are pulling weeds by hand (best) or harvesting this summer's vegetables, getting your hands dirty is a great way to support your health and ground your energy. While you are at it, make some mud pies with the kids!
Take off your shoes more frequently. This will allow you to get in touch with nature's elements, including a marble or wood floor.
Enjoy the summer and what nature has to offer. Could this be why we all feel and look so much better in the Spring and Summer?