I have written recently about seven amazing benefits (including improved wellbeing and productivity) of adding green plants to your office workspace in an article that you can read here. But this act of bringing the outside in, so to speak, can be magnified if we simply make an effort to spend more of our time outdoors in natural environments.
Humans have long known that being in nature is good for the mind, body and soul; possibly due to subconscious evolutionary reasons that tell us these beautiful natural spaces are resource rich and can provide us with the food, shelter and safety we are instinctively drawn to.
A large body of research now supports this, showing people who are more connected to nature are often happier and more satisfied with their lives, and usually feel like their life is worthwhile and has purpose. They also tend to have better mental health and wellbeing, with lower levels of stress, depression and anxiety.
In fact, hundreds of studies indicate that being in nature, living near nature, or even viewing nature in paintings, photos and videos can have positive impacts on our bodies, brains, thought processes, feelings, and social interactions.
Observing and being immersed in high quality, beautiful natural landscapes can also increase our experience of positive emotions, particularly awe and wonder. This can also lead to greater perspective and the ability to distance oneself from day to day worries and anxieties; allowing us to see them as trivial in the grand scheme of the universe, whilst simultaneously making us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves.
As well as the psychological, social and emotional benefits described, there are a range of physical health benefits too.
Studies show that spending time in nature reduces stress, depression, anxiety and anger, slows the heart rate and restores a sense of calm and peace. It is helpful for boosting mood, confidence and self-esteem. Some studies even indicate that forest bathing improves immune response, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, increases the bodies ability to withstand pain, and increases energy.
As described in one article from The Greater Good Science Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, "viewing nature seems to be inherently rewarding, producing a cascade of position emotions and calming our nervous systems. These in turn help us to cultivate greater openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience."
So, as the weather starts to improve, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and wild, natural spaces.
Take off your shoes and carefully walk barefoot in the grass to feel more grounded and connected to your environment, and make plans to socialise outdoors. Instead of meeting in a coffee shop, go for a walk with a friend or take a picnic to the countryside or the coast.
Or, find a quiet spot and try meditating. Sitting quietly and mindfully focusing on the sounds, scents and textures surrounding you is a great way to bring peace and tranquillity to your day. If you aren't able to make it to a truly wild area, sitting and observing a garden, park or trees, or nurturing your own plants is likely to create a similarly beneficial effect.
And, if you have to attend online work meetings, see if you can make them phone calls instead and 'walk and talk'. It will activate your creativity and problem solving ability, as well as helping your stay calm and focused.
To find out how I can help you improve your resilience, mindset and wellbeing, build your self-esteem, and set and achieve valued personal and professional goals, get in touch here.
I offer a free 20min coaching discovery call and would love to discuss how coaching can help you live your best life.