Close your eyes and think of anywhere in the world you’d rather be right now than in front of your computer. I suppose the title of the post might bias your thought process.. 🙂
For many people, this magical, stress-free place of relaxation and happiness is somewhere outside. It could be a beach, or maybe a park with fountains and flowers, etc. But hopefully it was somewhere outside.
There is a scientific reason for this! We are happier outside! Think about it. At the end of the day, we are complex, social animals. Like all animals, we live outdoors but require shelter.
In today’s world, however, many people find it difficult to find the time to spend time connecting with nature. You drive to work, spend the day in the office, drive home, maybe tend to the kids’ activities or your own, eat dinner, relax, and go to sleep. Or maybe you live in a climate that isn’t conducive to spending lots of time outside (I’m writing this from Scandinavia in the winter, so trust me, I understand this excuse). But there are no excuses for not spending more time outdoors. Go for a walk! Read in the park! Park very far from your destination! There are an infinite number of ways to increase your time outdoors. Think of one that fits your lifestyle and stick with it.
In my case, I really started noticing the benefits of being outdoors when I was living in Madrid, Spain. I would go for a walk every night for 20-30 minutes. It is such a beautiful city that I could walk in the same areas over and over again and not get bored. I also listened to the news on my mp3 player. But the important thing is to see trees, get fresh air, and get some exercise.
Science agrees with this principle. Here is an article from the July 2010 Harvard Health Letter touting benefits such as higher vitamin D, increased exercise, and improved concentration. This article from the New York Times reveals a study that found that spending more time outside increases your immune system. Lastly, this Seattle Times article summarizes why it’s so important to spend more time outside, but it has the best line I’ve read on the topic, “Nature is fuel for the soul.” I couldn’t agree more!
What do you do outdoors? Share it below as a comment!