The Benefits of Being Outside and Links to Positive Mental Health

The Benefits of Being Outside and Links to Positive Mental Health

Spending time outdoors especially in green spaces reduces your symptoms of anxiety, depression and improves mood and self-esteem. Studies completed with those struggling with mental illness saw significant increases in their self-esteem and saw a reduction in their depression symptoms by just spending as little as 20 minutes a day outside. 

Nature helps to slow us down. It works at a completely different speed to our fast paced way of living. We need to refocus our attention on different things, and let go of others. Nature helps us to do this. 

A new study published in The Environmental Journal of Health and Research found that even spending 20 minutes in a park without exercising still showed an improvement in well-being and mental health. 

Here’s why...

REDUCES STRESS:

A Japanese study found that even short periods of being outside helps to reduce the natural chemical called cortisol which is found to cause stress. It also helps to relieve muscle tension. 


BOOSTS MOOD:

Serotonin is the body's natural mood stabiliser and helps to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Being exposed to natural sunlight and fresh air offer numerous benefits to the mind and body and can help to stabilise our moods. 


HELPS TO RELAX YOUR MIND: 

As busy parents we always have a million and one things going through our heads at any given second. Taking the time to get back in touch with nature and experience the outdoors helps us to decompress, normalise and decrease mental fatigue. Spending time outdoors can help get you back on track, energised and focused. 

INCREASED HEALTH BENEFITS WHEN EXERCISE: 

Exercise releases endorphins, this naturally boosts your mood and also reduces blood pressure which is a common symptom of stress. When you exercise in nature you may also experience better cognitive function like improving your memory and ability to focus. Some people even experience a boost in creativity.  

The health benefits and links between being outside and positive mental health are evident. I know that in recent times it might be more challenging to get outside. But if all it really takes is 20 minutes a day to reap these amazing natural benefits it really is worth it. 

Your kids will also thank you for the break in their day and enjoy the benefits of playing outside in sunlight. This allows your kids to have more naturally-attuned sleep rhythms from "drowsy making" hormone, melatonin, that they are exposed to while playing outdoors. You're welcome. 

So get everyone outside for at least 20 minutes a day and the whole family will enjoy great well-being and self-esteem.

Why don't you try:

  • A treasure hut, kids needs to kind different rocks on your walk
  • Quick trip to your local park
  • Ride around the block on the bike or scooters. We always like to see what new building sites are popping up in our area. The kids love it.
  • Just go exploring 
  • Chalk drawing 
  • Playing catch or ball games
  • Fly a kite
  • Walk down to your local library (if close)

 

Sourced articles:

https://time.com/5539942/green-space-health-wellness/

https://www.lifeworkscc.com/mental-health-benefits-outdoors/

https://luminohealth.sunlife.ca/s/article/Why-being-outside-is-good-for-your-mental-health?language=en_US


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