9 Best Ways To Relieve Stress With Nature
The way you spend time out in nature can affect how much your physical, emotional and mental health will benefit from it. If you’re getting outside to relax, relieve stress or anxiety, focus your mind, or improve your health and well-being, try some of these tips to make it a more mindful experience.
There are undeniable benefits for your mental health when you spend time in nature, like lower stress and better memory. But if you're usually glued to a screen – computer, TV, or any other kind – you may have forgotten exactly how relaxing in nature works. Don’t give up, hug a tree or two, and head for home. There are plenty of other ways to immerse yourself in nature and have fun while you're doing it.
1. Wander The Wilderness
The Wilderness Trust places an emphasis on making nature-based trips as popular as visiting tourist attractions. To make your walk a little more special, you could walk through a woodland trail, cycle through a forest, or go off-road on an adventure trail. It could be just a little walk in a park in your city or a day-long outing along a famous trail through the countryside, such as the Pennine Way or the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Whatever you choose, the overall aim should be to be outside and away from digital screens. Not online – or next to it. Get a breath of fresh air. Take some time out to enjoy your surroundings, without any distractions. Better yet, experience nature in the wild, whether that is hiking, biking or canoeing, if you're physically able.
Feeling connected with the land, the animals and the plants, you're tuning into your innate yearning to relax and unwind. You don't have to go far to get some serious Nature's medicine. Among a sprawling swath of California forests in the Sierra Nevada mountains are sites known as the Sierras, popularly known as Yosemite, Big Oak Flat, Sequoia, or Yosemite Falls.
These sites are well-known for their beauty and clear streams, but the real magic is what you'll experience after you've explored. Between the sparkling waterfalls, pine trees, and abundant wildlife, you'll forget that you're in the middle of the suburbs. Bring your meditation cushion, yoga mat, or longitude or latitude reading sheet, and spend a few minutes sitting in the shade and letting the peace and quiet wash over you.
What better way to bring you closer to nature than by heading out into it? These areas of wilderness are great for quiet time. You can hike a large stretch, find a quiet beach, or even do a short walk in an urban area. Go on a walk, hike, jog, or bike ride and be amazed at the vastness of the natural world. Focus on being in the moment and listening to the natural world. Pay attention to every sound and smell, and let your senses take over.
Wander the Wilderness and take a deeper look at the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Take note of all the animals you see and how they move around the woods. Turn around often to take in the beautiful views of the ever-changing sky. Get on your hands and knees and look for worms and beetles. Maybe go outside a little more often. This kind of constant change is so calming.
Even a 20-minute walk in nature can be good for your health, whether it’s into a field, forest, or garden. Even if you take just a few steps, chances are you’ll feel refreshed, happy, and refreshed again. Nature can bring you closer to yourself When you're in the presence of nature, there's nothing else to focus on but your senses, and your perceptions become intensely direct. Many health and fitness organizations advise taking short walks around your neighbourhood or the local park at least once a day.
Try heading outside your usual walk route and then return to the car or park and wander the wilderness further. This way you're less likely to get bored by the same scenery. Studies have shown that spending time in nature really does have a transformative effect on people's mental and physical health.
The fresh air of the wilderness is known to reduce levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol, or adrenal function. On top of that, spending time in nature – even for short periods – stimulates the production of endorphins, which can improve mental health and, in turn, help us feel more relaxed.
2. Savour The Scenery
Yes, nature does provide a nice break from it all. If you're familiar with the outdoors, you've likely sat there in awe of the world around you. If you haven't gone camping or spent time in the wilderness, your view may be a lot different than that of a hiker. Whether you're hiking in the mountains or just relaxing at a resort, your mind will likely be drawn to the beauty of nature.
Think about the photos you took or that one animal that seemed to be right in front of you. Now, take a minute to really focus on all the details in front of you. The sound of birds, a trickling stream, or the scent of fresh pine are a few of the sights that could take your breath away. If you're tired of city life, spend a few minutes to appreciate nature's landscape, whether you're on a park bench, in your backyard, or enjoying a hike through a natural area.
Wildlife can be overlooked, but it's important to check in with nature when you're outside. Perhaps you haven't really given much thought to how beautiful the earth can be. Take a moment to really soak in the atmosphere, taking in the natural beauty around you. This could make all the difference to your mood. By being so closely attuned to nature, you're really activating your senses, which can do wonders for your mental health.
Nature can take a heavy toll on your mental health. Anxious people tend to show less openness and openness to change. One study found that exposure to nature reduces cortisol levels in humans. The level of cortisol your body produces is associated with the level of stress. The lower your cortisol level, the higher your well-being. The only way to make sure your cortisol is in its lowest, relaxed state is to go outside and get some fresh air.
Travel to a location that offers views of nature or find your nearest forest, park, or hiking trail. If you don’t like the outdoors, find a coffee shop and soak in the bathroom mirror to gaze at yourself while brushing your teeth. Nature can help lift your mood and distract you from what you’re doing.
There is a reason nature is often referred to as “the green thumb of the universe.” Being out in nature improves your mood, reduces stress, improves your focus, increases focus and attention, improves your energy levels, improves your sleep quality and quantity, and it's just plain beautiful.
It's true that when you get too busy, you can't fully reap the benefits of being in nature. But there's nothing stopping you from being mindful and appreciative of the scenery. Bring a camera to take a few pictures, but if you can't stop taking pictures, find another place to park your car and walk. Take in the view, and let your mind focus on the sounds, the smells, and the feeling of the wind. Slow down and soak in the world around you.
3. Watch The Sunrise Or Sunset
Watching the sun slowly rise and set is a surefire way to get a sense of perspective and to better appreciate where you are and what you're seeing. You might even notice a pattern: most of the time, the sun rises behind the trees (the morning) and sets behind the trees (the evening). These moments are so stunning because you've seen the sun disappear from view. As soon as it disappears, all you see is the landscape in front of you – the trees, the sky, the trees again.
Try to do this every morning if you can – there's something about a new day, the start of a new week, the start of the school year, or any other exciting moment that's always worth it. If you don't have a sunny spot in your backyard, don't despair: you can still enjoy a sunrise or sunset from your living room window. At the very least, use the window to create an unobstructed view of the night sky, and get your phone out of reach.
Set an alarm and get up in time to watch the sunrise or set. When it's time to go back to sleep, you'll already be accustomed to waking up around the same time and you'll be back in nature. It's a proven fact that spending time in nature increases your ability to manage stress. Just as the sun rises and sets, your mind and body also enter different states during the course of the day – which means that simply observing how the day progresses is enough to lower your anxiety.
As nature is constantly shifting, there's something very calming about it. Even if you don't live in an area with a lot of natural light during the winter, there's still a chance to feel the benefits of being outside during the day. There's a reason why humans were initially drawn to places like the top of mountains or far away oceans. Looking up to nature offers some of the best Vitamin D the world has to offer, which may help keep your immune system strong and improve your mood.
The sun rising or setting can set the tone for your entire day, and sunrise and sunset offer the opportunity to reflect on what you accomplished that day, what you're looking forward to, and more. Simply standing outside and taking it all in can help you calm your mind.
This can be particularly important for students who may stay inside a classroom or a lecture hall for hours on end and miss the fresh air, fresh air, fresh air. The more you get outside, the more you'll appreciate it, the more it will benefit your mind and your body, and the more you'll see it as a natural part of life.
4. Venture To The Mountains Or A Lake
The great thing about nature is that no matter where you are in the world, the natural elements are bound to be there. Oftentimes, you don't even need a vehicle to get up close to nature, so there are no excuses when you need some time to yourself. In the mountains or the outdoors, the outside air will make you feel more connected to your environment and more in tune with your surroundings.
Bring your earbuds or your phone, but don't use them to distract yourself. Instead, use them to add more clarity to your mind when you're walking around or sitting in your car. If you live in a city or suburban area, opt for a suburban park. Parks are often created just for the purpose of providing a beautiful place to getaway. Explore nature by walking on nature paths. In the wilderness, take a hike through a meadow, or enjoy an evening stroll down a city street.
Hike in a state park or on your local trails, and take a leisurely walk through a nature reserve. If you need to focus on something, even if it's just keeping your thoughts straight or writing your post, try to imagine you're hiking on a trail, and let your mind wander.
“Walk a little more and get some exercise,” noted Dr. William Kovacs, a psychiatrist and the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Chicago. “Take a walk on a wooded trail and look for leaves, nature, birds, a spider, a crack in a tree, whatever.” Walking is a good way to increase your heart rate, which will also decrease stress and anxiety.
5. Pack A Picnic
Whether you go camping or host a picnic in your backyard, doing so allows you to spend time in nature with your family and friends without having to spend the whole day out. Just sitting outside with a warm beverage and a sandwich for a few hours, or a picnic dinner, can help you appreciate the outdoors while also giving you time to relax and unwind. Plus, having a meal at the table, instead of in front of the TV or computer, is a good way to start conversations about what you're each up to these days, or get to know each other a little better.
When you’re out and about in nature, or even inside an urban park or park-like space, it can be hard to simply sit and relax and savour your surroundings. But even a casual picnic can help you to slow down, open up your senses, and really take in the sights and sounds around you. That’s because, in addition to providing a great space for a fun, family outing, you’re also likely to be out and about in a big group, which means there will be plenty of fellow nature lovers around.
Research has found that spending time outdoors with others improves your well-being, for example by reducing the negative impacts of social comparison. Sitting in a crowd also often means eating outside – something people are known to be pretty unenthusiastic about. The best way to feel like you've taken a step away from the world is to stop being so connected and actually disconnect. Pack your favourite lunch, then head to the woods or a nearby park for a long lunch by the water or by a nearby pond.
6. Study In The Sunshine
Whatever the case may be, there are a number of ways you can turn down your computer and seize that moment to listen to the silence. Try walking for a while in nature – a park, or even the countryside. This may be enough to get your senses fully into the moment and to help yourself relax.
It may seem strange at first to have your eyes be drawn to such a bright and colourful subject as nature. But it is well known that low-light conditions, such as indoor lighting in our homes or offices, can cause strain and fatigue to the eyes, just as regular, direct sunlight can.
Instead, get outside where you can see lots of colour and light. Even if you don't have time to be hiking or walking or doing any other kind of outdoor activity, simply sitting somewhere with lots of natural light can help reduce your stress levels. The development of vitamin D in our bodies and the improvement of our moods are two of the most well-known benefits of sunlight. You'll be substantially more awake and less tired in the afternoon if you study in the sun (but not direct sunlight). This will increase your productivity.
7. Simmer In Spring
When spring arrives, you can be immersed in nature without even leaving your home. The season has a bit of a temperamental quality – the buds of green aren't always the ripest, and they have to go through a period of dormancy and warming temperatures before the seeds can germinate and produce fruits or flowers, such as trees or shrubs. That means that the plants of spring can be especially surprising – like colourful tulips or crocuses that pop through the ground and explode into the green of summer.
Spring also brings wildlife out of hibernation, which can be an appealing distraction. Sometimes it's butterflies, birds and other fascinating creatures. Or it can be the sounds of animals, from the rushing rush of a stream to the rustling of grass to the sound of a deer running. Step out into nature – find a public green space – but don't just stay there, especially if it’s sunny and you’re in shorts and a t-shirt. Walk, run, take a stroll, stroll around a lake, or start to jog or even a light run on your favourite bike path.
If it’s a weekday, the ambient sounds of cars, planes, trains and buses will keep you on alert. In the spring, wildlife will start to stir, so you can look around at colourful birds, insects, butterflies, and blooming plants. If it’s later in the year, look up to watch the leaves change colours and turn your gaze toward the sky. You’ll get a glimpse of a wide range of light levels from bright sunshine to dusk. What better way to release stress than watching the changing colours of the trees?
8. Go Camping
When you get out into nature, you're likely to notice a lot of people who aren't going at all, and some who are building a campsite, playing some music, and all of the sudden everyone else is leaving. Don't feel too bad if you're feeling the same way: camping can be hard on your social life when you don't have many places to go to in nature. It's really important to take time to relax in nature if you don't normally enjoy spending time in it.
Set your phone on the beach, pack a pad and some headphones, and set up camp – not just for a few hours, but for a whole weekend. The beauty of nature doesn't last forever. Get up early, watch the sunrise, and make a home wherever you're at. Even if it's only for a few hours, that can do wonders for your mental health. Camping is one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors, despite the fact that it may seem self-evident.
Being in an environment where you can appreciate trees, lakes, sunlight, birds, and other natural details can assist your mind to relax and put you in a quiet, serene mindset. The majority of people are accustomed to living in cities, where all they see are skyscrapers, congested streets, cars honking, and other forms of visual and auditory pollution. Getting away from these kinds of situations can help you clear your head and relax emotionally.
9. Head To The Beach
Head out to the beach to take in the sunlight and smell the salt air. Clamber into the sea and get some sand between your toes. Between your toes, the feel of sand Our bodies and minds have been shown to be stimulated by walking barefoot in the sand. This is referred to as grounding in science. Walking barefoot on the beach activates many nerves and acupuncture points in our feet, which helps to calm and relax us.
The combined relaxing effects of the waves and sun are enough to let a person forget about their worries. The sun's heat, the sound of the waves, and your toes in the sand can all assist to relieve tension and stress. The beach is quiet and tranquil, making it ideal for unwinding and enjoying the sound of the waves and the warmth of the sun. The benefits of relaxing on the beach are numerous for both the body and the mind.
Many of us are unable to have an unplugged weekend. If you want to make the most out of the beautiful sunny days we're currently experiencing, you'll need to make sure you have the means and motivation to get outside. Try one or more of these expert-approved methods for clearing your mind and enjoying an unplugged break. Enjoy nature and harvest the benefits of relieving stress.
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