Incorporating Nature into Your Daily Life

 

Despite the fact that nearly all Americans consider nature to be at least moderately important to their health, currently, over half of all Americans spend less than 5 hours a week outside. This is concerning because it means that 50 percent of Americans miss out on the benefits that come from nature, including higher self-esteem, decreased stress, and other psychological as well as physical benefits. While we know that we should be in nature more each week, it can be hard to find ways to incorporate it in daily life. Luckily, there are ways to gain some of the benefits of nature with simple lifestyle changes.

  1. 1. Keep your blinds open and sit in the sun

    If you have to be indoors most of the day, try keeping your blinds open to let light in. You can also look at the nature outside your window. If you have the misfortune of facing a brick wall or other less than bucolic scenes from your window, you can still gain the benefit of some vitamin D if you sit and work by the window. A study found that sitting by the window can boost your productivity by 2 percent.

  2. 2. Listen to nature sounds

    I’ve started listening to bird sounds or rainfall while I work and I’ve found I’m way less stressed. Scienctific research actually backs me up on this one. Try switching out your normal playlist for some nature sounds to help gain some of the benefits of nature.

  3. 3. Do an outdoor workout

    There are many ways you can exercise in nature. You can try running, biking, skiing or any other outdoor sport. Some workouts that you do inside can even be taken outside. For example, HIIT workouts work well outdoors because of their emphasis on body-weight exercise. Some parks even have fitness equipment that is designed to help you get a great workout in. Working out in nature can even increase your enjoyment versus working out inside

  4. 4. Put nature photos where you can see them

    I have photos of flowers as my phone wallpaper. Even looking at images and videos of nature can have positive effects on our well-being. A study found that people had increased gratitude after watching nature videos. Having photos where you see them often can help keep you grounded in your day to day life.

  5. 5. Eat Outside

    Picnics are a great way to get outside each day. Taking your lunch outside as much as possible can also help you take a break from work or school each day. I try my best to eat outside whenever the weather is nice or at least look out a window while I eat.

  6. 6. Get a house plant or start a garden

    Spending some time in the dirt has been shown to decrease depression symptoms (in mice). In humans, exposure to dirt can boost your immune system. Having plants around can also help you get more in touch with nature.

You do not need a 15-mile hike without cell service to benefit from nature, as long as you consistently and mindfully incorporate nature into your life you will see results positive results. The outdoors can improve your life as much as you let it.

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6