In case you might be suffering from Zoom fatigue; if you are experiencing social media overload; if you don’t want to hear another strategy, technique, exercise, etc. to make yourself feel better during this crazy time, the following might be for you.
There is a great deal of scientific study and empirical evidence linking all aspects of nature to improved mental, physical health and well being. For example, the negative ions given off by water falls or a body of water tends to improve our mood and lift our spirits. Of course it is not always possible to be near lakes, streams, rivers, etc. Green spaces can do just as much, if not more for us. A walk in the park or woods or whatever part of nature you can find will also be calming and stress reducing
A practice that has grown in recent years is Forest Bathing or Forest Therapy. It comes from the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku, or taking a slow walk in the woods and absorbing the surroundings with all your senses.
The practice of forest bathing or just being in the presence of trees is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of well being.
If “bathing” in the forest is not viable, there are still other aspects of nature we can access that will produce similar benefits. Flowers are one.
According to lead researcher Nancy Etcoff, assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, study participants who had fresh cut flowers in their home for less than a week had increased feelings of compassion and kindness for others.
Those who placed flowers in parts of their home where they spend most of their time reported feeling less negative and looked forward to seeing the blooms first thing in the morning.
Additionally, further studies showed people tended to have lower blood pressure and less anxiety.
Remember those tapes and CD’s of nature sounds? Well, “In clinical studies, we have seen that 2 hours of nature sounds a day significantly reduce stress hormones up to 800% and activates 500 to 600 DNA segments known to be responsible for healing and repairing the body.” Dr. Joe Dispenza
If leaving your residence is not an option you don’t have to. According to Rachel Kaplan, Dept. of Psychology at the University of Michigan, you can enjoy nature’s restorative effects sitting by a window, looking out at green space and taking in the warmth of the sun.
Finally, it is a known fact that recalling positive experiences, recapturing the feelings that were part of the experience and savouring those good feelings can boost happiness. Perhaps looking at photographs of nature and times spent in nature can give you some moments of joy and calm as well.
Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. - Chinese proverb
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