The effect of nature on your brain

Have you ever been asked where you want to live? What is your response? I'm sure it's not on top of a high-rise structure in the town center. Most respondents say it's by the sea, in the countryside, or in a cabin in the woods. This is not without cause. We feel most at ease when we are outside. We intuitively understand that spending time in nature benefits the mind, body, and spirit. And now science is on our side. Nature may help you focus and concentrate better, decrease stress and anxiety, restore cognitive function and mental well-being, increase creativity and problem-solving skills, and safeguard your physical health and fitness. Spending time in nature is so good for our health and development that it should be regarded as a “prescription” for everyone!

Why is nature so good for us?

The damage caused by free radicals causes inflammation in the body. Without delving too far into chemistry, the simplest explanation is that free radicals contain unpaired, or free, electrons. As a result, they are extremely chemically reactive, which is how they inflict so much harm on our cells. The number of negative ions in nature can neutralize unpaired electrons in free radicals and the positive ions emitted by electrical gadgets, screens, fluorescent lights, carpets, and pollution, especially in cities.

Waterfalls, the seaside, rivers, and streams are excellent places to acquire more of those calming negative ions. The term “forest bathing” refers to the practice of immersing yourself in negative ions in dense woods. After big precipitation, especially if it was a thunderstorm, there is also an excess of negative ions.

To maximize the advantages, consider walking barefoot, commonly known as grounding. This is simpler to do on a beach with soft sand. However, use caution in other areas because of potentially harmful things such as thorns, splintered wood, or sharp stones. In some situations, standing motionless and deep breathing may be preferable to walking. You will still receive the benefits you desire.

If traveling to the beach or the forest is out of the question, you may still go for a walk in the neighborhood park or relax outside in your garden or backyard. Exposure to natural sunshine first thing in the morning has been shown to help reset the sleep-wake cycle and improve sleep. Keeping in mind that obtaining a good night's sleep is extremely vital for brain health since insomnia is a risk factor for decreased brain function and dementia, spending time outside in nature, particularly in the sun, is essential. So, why not enjoy the sunrise, listen to the dawn chorus, or “simply be” outside with your morning coffee?

What if you don't have a backyard, a garden, or even a balcony? Don't worry; studies have proven that adorning your home with plants and images of nature is equally beneficial to your health. Just a few minutes in nature may instantly improve our mood and make us feel calmer and even healthier! Here are some of the ways that spending time outside might benefit our health.

Forest

Boosts mood and reduces stress

One of the most obvious advantages of spending time in nature is that it may assist in boosting our mood and reducing stress. Numerous studies have demonstrated that green space can help reduce anxiety and rumination (repeating unpleasant ideas) while enhancing self-esteem, pleasure, and overall well-being. Even if you don't have time for a hike or a trip to the park, spending a few minutes outside in your backyard or walking around the block may significantly impact how you feel.

Helps us to be more active

Another significant advantage of spending time outside is encouraging us to be more active and obtain the necessary exercise. Exercise is vital for our overall health, and being active outside is a terrific way to acquire it. Walking, running, riding, swimming, and participating in sports are all excellent ways to be active while spending time outside. Furthermore, physical activity reduces stress and anxiety, increases attention and concentration, and may even assist in preventing dementia. So you're getting three for the price of one! Exercising outside also stimulates us to exercise more. Why run on a treadmill in the gym, staring at a blank wall, when you can run among trees, a river, or across fields with the wind in your hair? I know which one I'd rather do.

Gardening is another excellent way to spend time outside. It is satisfying to produce fruit, vegetables, flowers, or simply a beautiful garden, but gardening may also help preserve your brain from deterioration. Gardening is a terrific way to connect with nature since it is peaceful and relaxing and reduces stress and anxiety. Furthermore, all that digging and weeding gets your heart rate up. Furthermore, any fruits or veggies you cultivate are far more nutritious than those purchased in stores, which is great news for your health and brain.

Avoid using headphones when exercising or conducting outdoor activities. In today's tech-filled world, it's critical that we disengage and unwind. Being attentive to nature and enjoying it with all of your senses is critical. Be aware of the earth beneath your feet; look at the colors, forms, and textures around you; look at the clouds; listen to the birds; listen to the waves smashing on the shore; listen to the leaves rustling on the trees; observe movement; notice the silence. Pay close attention. Being aware of nature elevates calm, decreases anxiety, and increases emotions of well-being. It will also leave you feeling revitalized and revitalized.

Improves focus and concentration 

Being outside has been demonstrated to assist increase focus and concentration, particularly in children who struggle to pay attention in school. If you're having difficulty concentrating at work or school, take a break and go outdoors for a few minutes; you might be amazed at how much better you feel afterward.

Connects us with other people 

Spending time outside is also an excellent opportunity to interact with others, both family and friends. It's easy to grow lonely when we spend all of our time indoors, but getting outside allows us to engage with others without interruptions while also getting some fresh air and sunshine. Plan an outside activity with friends or family, or discuss it with someone you observe while walking. We all require a social connection for our mental health; therefore, make time each week to interact with people in person!

Lowers blood pressure

According to a study of several studies, the overarching result was that spending time in green environments greatly reduces blood pressure. This is most likely because going outside allows us to relax both physically and psychologically. High blood pressure can not only cause a stroke, which basically destroys a portion of the brain, but it can also cause the brain to age quicker and lose function, eventually leading to dementia. High blood pressure can also lead to heart attacks, which is another incentive to get outside and enjoy nature.

What is the best way to get some nature into your life?

Spending at least two hours every week in nature allows you to reap the benefits described above. According to one research, this is the bare minimum of time required. This might be readily accomplished by taking a 20-minute stroll every day. A walk through the woods or along the ocean would be ideal. This is due to the fact that both trees and running water release those helpful negative ions.

When you're confined indoors for hours on end staring at your laptop or television screen, it's crucial to step outside at least once a day, if only to rest your eyes. However, as we now see, there are other reasons to spend more time outside and appreciate nature! From stress reduction to blood pressure reduction, improved sleep, and relaxation. However, your brain gains the most from being outside in nature.

So come outside and appreciate nature, whether you're playing sports, strolling down the beach barefoot, hiking through the woods, or splashing in puddles after a thunderstorm. You may appreciate nature and get its numerous advantages regardless of the weather. What exactly are you waiting for? Put your coat on and go outdoors.

References

  1. Quantifying the Impact of Scenic Environments on Health https://www.nature.com/articles/srep16899
  2. Role of free radicals in human inflammatory diseases https://www.aimspress.com/article/10.3934/biophy.2017.4.596
  3. Charge transfer in the living matrix http://www.wildqi.com.au/resources/8B/13707/Other/Charge%20transfer%20in%20the%20living%20matrix.pdf
  4. The harmful effects of positive ions on your health https://www.ionloop.com/blog/the-harmful-effects-of-positive-ions-on-your-health/
  5. Electric Nutrition: The Surprising Health and Healing Benefits of Biological Grounding (Earthing) https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James-Oschman/publication/320608127_Electric_Nutrition_The_Surprising_Health_and_Healing_Benefits_of_Biological_Grounding_Earthing/links/5b9645c34585153a531992ce/Electric-Nutrition-The-Surprising-Health-and-Healing-Benefits-of-Biological-Grounding-Earthing.pdf
  6. Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/longhourstraining/light.html
  7. How Poor Sleep Affects the Brain https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation/lack-of-sleep-and-cognitive-impairment
  8. Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2566234/
  9. Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/
  10. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm
  11. Physical exercise and activity may be important in reducing dementia risk at any age https://n.neurology.org/content/92/8/362
  1. The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all https://extremephysiolmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2046-7648-2-3
  2. Benefits of Gardening Activities for Cognitive Function According to Measurement of Brain Nerve Growth Factor Levels https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427672/
  3. Why Gardening Is Good for the Body and the Brain https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/how-my-brain-works/202204/why-gardening-is-good-the-body-and-the-brain
  4. 7 Reasons to Spend Mindful Time in Nature https://chopra.com/articles/7-reasons-to-spend-mindful-time-in-nature
  5. How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing
  6. This Might Be The Easiest Way To Boost Concentration And Memory https://www.businessinsider.com/boost-concentration-and-memory-by-going-outside-2014-8?r=US&IR=T
  7. Relationships and community: statistics https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/relationships-community-statistics
  8. Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125471/
  9. High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension's effects on your body https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868
  10. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3
  11. Negative Air Ions and Their Effects on Human Health and Air Quality Improvement https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213340/

 

 

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