Nature has your back. It’s where we come from after all. And certain things about nature have very beneficial effects on our healthy and well being. More and more evidence backs it up all the time to help with things like blood pressure, stress, cognitive function, immunity, mood and depression or anxiety, and even gut health.
Here are 15 ways you can get nature’s healing benefits today!
1. Go Swimming
Being submerged in water is very soothing to the body and mind (as long as you feel safe). Whether you float, swim or play, it can be a great way to relax and refresh.
2. Take a Bath
If you don’t have a body of water or pool nearby, get the benefits of water by bathing. Adding epsom salt and lavender oil really ups the relaxation effect!
3. Try a Float Tank
Float tanks are found in more and more cities as awareness of their benefits grows. These are large tubs filled with minerals to the point that you float. The top closes so you’re floating in the dark without sound. If you’re not claustrophobic it can be a very relaxing experience.
Many different compounds in nature produce scents that can have physiologic effects on the body. Some, like lavender are relaxing, while others, like peppermint, are uplifting and keep us alert. Being outdoors in a lush area can give you these scents, or you can take a more targeted approach by diffusing essential oils. Speak with someone knowledgeable about oil effects and safety to get the most out of them.
5. Look Out the Window
No, you’re not daydreaming – you’re reaping the proven benefits of nature-viewing! Don’t feel guilty about taking a break to look out the window, particularly if that window looks out on nature. Studies have shown even looking at nature can boost mood and immunity.
6. Get a Nature Screen Saver
If you don’t have the luxury of a nature view from your office or home, at least get some nature pictures on your computer or actual pictures on the wall. Even viewing pictures has benefits!
7. Listen to Nature
Listening to the sounds of nature can lower stress and improve sleep. This can be the real thing or a recording. Try crickets, rain, forest sounds, the ocean, even a light thunderstorm.
8. Exercise in Nature
While you know the many benefits of exercise, it turns out that doing it in nature is like super-charging those benefits. You get an extra boost of mood, energy and immune enhancements by moving your body in nature!
9. Go Forest-Bathing AKA Shinrin-Yoku
The Japanese have embraced forest bathing as a healing, restorative practice. All you do is walk in the woods and MINDFULLY take in your surroundings and the fresh air. Research studies back up the health benefits of this practice, including lower blood pressure, better immunity, improved mood and energy!
If you have pets, give them some love and attention. You’re probably already familiar with the health and emotional benefits you can get from pets. They’re part of nature, too!
If you don’t have one but want one, think about adopting! Of course, you want to make sure you’re able to give it the care and attention it needs.
If you’re allergic to furry animals or don’t have the time or resources for a dog or cat, think about a fish tank! Research has shown that watching fish tanks can relieve stress and increase a sense of calmness.
11. Grow Something
Gardening is an amazing way to connect with nature. Benefits include better mental health, cognition, immunity, and it counts as physical activity!
If you’ve never gardened before, start small. Even a windowsill herb garden is great. Plus you can’t get fresher food than that!
12. Eat Close to the Earth
Of course one of the ways we can support ourselves with nature’s healing powers is by eating closely from it. Nature has ourback when it comes to providing the nourishment we need for optimal health.
The farther from nature a food is (think packaged and stripped and added to) the less healthy it tends to be. Try going to your local farmer’s market and stocking up on as many natural colors as you can!
13. Soak Up the Sun
We’ve been almost scared away from the sun due to campaigns against skin cancer. And while it’s true you don’t want to burn, avoiding the sun is not the way to go.
The sun is our body’s main source for making Vitamin D. But you don’t make vitamin D if you have on sunblock, so it’s important to find a safe level of sun exposure for you. The paler you are (and the more easily you burn), the less time you’ll need in the sun to make Vitamin D.
To maintain good Vitamin D levels, you’ll need to be out in the sun for only as much time as it takes to get slight color, but not a burn, and do this 3 times a week. If you’re already deficient, you’ll need that exposure daily. The more skin you have showing, the less time it takes.
14. Get a House Plant
Plants can not only give you the benefits of wellbeing by looking at them, they are also awesome air purifiers! They release oxygen and can filter out some of the air pollution caused by electronics and allergens. More oxygen can also boost your energy!
15. Get Your Negative Ions
NEGATIVE IONS. They sound like some sort of science fiction weapon right? Actually, they’re the opposite. They’re naturally occurring particles that are associated with lower depression and increased mood, energy and wellbeing.
Negative ions work partly by increasing oxygen flow to the brain. It turns out that some people respond more to them than others, but if you usually feel refreshed when opening a window or stepping outside, you’re probably one who responds well.
There are plenty of machines out there now that generate negative ions for just this reason, and they also claim to purify the air, though this needs more research. But why not get them the natural way when possible – and for free?
Here are some ways to expose yourself to negative ions and their benefits:
- Walk outside after a thunderstorm, or even after it rains
- Take a trip to the beach
- Hike in the mountains
- Sit by a waterfall
- Walk along a rushing river
- Keep plants around the house
- Open the windows when you need a pick-me-up
- Take a hot shower (yep, hot showers are a great source of negative ions!)
Take advantage of the abundance of benefits you can get in nature. It’s your birthright as a natural being of the Earth!
Let me know in the comments – which of these is YOUR FAVORITE way of brining nature into your life?