The neuroscience of nature
A study in Japan found out that a walk in the forest can significantly reduce stress levels more effectively than a walk in the city. This is particularly noticeable in lower cortisol levels, moderate heart rates and generally better mood. Nature can help us to become calmer and feel better.
You don’t even have to go up into the mountains and hike for hours. Just looking out of the window into a green landscape can reduce stress and increase productivity. A prison in the United States even uses nature footage in videos to calm the inmates.
Less time in nature
Thanks to technological progress, we spend less and less time in nature. Smartphone, TV and the work in front of the screen make it difficult for us to spend more time outside. In America, people already spend93% of their time indoors, here in Europe the statistics will most likely look similar. This is especially sad for children who nowadays spend more time in front of the screen than outside in nature. And it is not only we as individuals who could benefit from time in nature. We could also benefit as a society, because nature makes us a better listener, it makes us more sensitive and emphatic.
Outdoor as a trend
However, a clear trend can be observed in recent years and months: More and more people are drawn to nature. Many young adults rediscover hiking. And in many countries around the globe new experiences of nature are being created and national parks are being set up. It seems that outdoor travel is more popular than ever.
Simply out into nature
What can we do to benefit from the stress-reducing properties of nature? It’s very simple: go out into nature regularly. Whether alone, with family or friends. Even in the world’s largest cities there are green recreational areas and parks.
The best way to do this is to leave your smartphone at home or in your pocket. Only in this way can time in nature become a soothing “time-out”. Try to activate all your senses and discover different facets of nature throughout all seasons.