The Science Behind Why Nature is Relaxing
We are all familiar with the intense feeling of calm which washes over us when we get out of the city and into nature. You may have previously thought that it’s all in your head, but the truth is that spending time in the great outdoors has been scientifically proven to improve quality of life. Not only will you get exercise, but you’ll also get to enjoy lower stress levels and a rejuvenation of the body and mind.
Nature Forces You to Unplug
In today’s fast paced society, multi-tasking on various electronic devices is one of the leading causes of stress. A study from the University of California, Irvine found that those who had access to email and received a near-constant stream of messages had an elevated heart rate compared to those who were cut off from electronic devices. As such, being in nature, cut off from all forms of communication will help you unwind fully.
Vitamin D for Better Body Function
Besides artificial supplements, vitamin D can only be produced in the body by spending time in sunshine, but what does it do? Not only does vitamin D maximise calcium absorption, but it will also elevate your mood, reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, and lower your blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels.
Natural Light for a Regular Sleep Cycle
Getting a good dose of sunshine will also help you feel rejuvenated by helping your body regulate the production of melatonin, much like how online bingo Australia makes you feel relaxed. As the hormone which controls your body’s internal clock, melatonin helps you feel sleepy and the pineal gland – which produces it – is directly affected by access to light. The pineal gland remains inactive during the day and is activated when darkness descends.
Re-centring Your Mind
By re-centring your mind, your body will also feel more relaxed and leaving your devices behind and heading into nature may also be calming for metaphysical reasons. A study by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that spending time in a natural environment encouraged people to leave stressors behind and focus their minds on something more wholesome.
Provides the Downtime Needed to Recharge
As unbelievable as it may sound, the brain demands 20% of all the energy produced by the body, which is increased by up to 10% when focused on a mentally demanding task. However, when you’re in a daydreaming state – something more easily achieved in nature – your brain settles in what is called the Default Brain Network or DMN. The DMN is an intricate circuit of coordinated communication which is integral to the mental processes which help us develop our understanding of human behaviour.
Nature Causes Lower Levels of Stress Hormones
A recent study found that spending time in a natural environment performing a repetitive task such as gardening had better stress-busting abilities than other leisure activities. In fact, there was a distinct decrease in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.