Reducing Stress by Spending Time in Nature – The Good Men Project (blog)

During the last 25 years, I’ve been living in Los Angeles. Most of that time has been spent in Malibu, a beautiful coastline city surrounded by oceans and the Santa Monica Mountain Range. Most people come to Malibu for the beaches and the surfing, but I love it here because just out my front door, I can ride my mountain bike and within 15 minutes I feel like I’m in Colorado or Montana. The trails are my happy place.

I always knew there was a great benefit to being in Nature. At UCLA I was an English Literature major with an American Studies focus. I found myself mostly attracted to the Transendentalist  writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoureau, and Margaret Fuller.

One of my favorite quotes from Emerson is, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” It has always been important to me to find time for contemplation and reflection. Time spent in Nature provides me not only that time, but so many other benefits as well.

Studies show that spending just 20 minutes surrounded by greenery will decrease stress, improve your immune system, lower your blood pressure, increase your ability to focus, improve your mood, help  you sleep better and more.

Sign me up, right?! Well, the good thing is that you don’t even have to go to the forest to get those benefits. You can look at indoor plants and you will receive the same awesome benefits. Green plants emit these airborne chemicals called phytoncides to protect themselves from insects. When we ingest them the help boost our immune system, thank you very much plants.

In Japan, there are doctors who prescribe something called Shinrinyoku, literally translated means ‘forest air bathing.’ With all the amazing benefits scientist are finding thanks to the greenery around us, doctors are starting to pay attention. For people who are stressed out, kids who lack focus, and anyone looking to live healthier can simply spend a little time in nature.

The world is changing my friends, doctors are prescribing yoga, meditation, and not time in Nature. Hopefully this is just another small step making it easier for all of us to live a healthier and happier life.

Here are 5 easy ways to make sure you’re reaping the benefits of Nature. 

  1. Get an indoor plant.
  2. Take a walk in the park.
  3. Plan a family outing.
  4. Exercise outdoors around trees.
  5. Go for a hike.

And remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his 1836 essay Nature, “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” So when you’re feeling down, find some greenery and find that wild delight that only comes from inside you. As always, I’m here to help, send me a message @teddymcdonald.

Originally published on the author’s website.