The complications of modern life can leave you feeling stressed and lonely, but the solution is sometimes surprisingly simple. A recent study found that spending time outside for at least 30 minutes a week can significantly reduce the risk of depression–and help relieve the symptoms you’re already struggling with
Scientists have found further evidence of what researchers have been saying for years. Connecting with nature enhances your physical, your social, and especially your mental wellness.
If you’re ready to take steps to combat the blues, try some of the tips below. You’ll find ideas for making the most of your local green spaces, along with tips for discovering other great ways to take advantage of the beauty of nature.
Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors
1. Socialize More.
Parks bring together citizens from different walks of life. Whether you’re people watching or flying a kite, you share a positive experience.
2. Give Your Health a Boost.
Spending time in parks has been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease. Being outdoors can also help you lose weight and sleep well if it increases your physical activity and exposure to morning light.
3. Boost Your Happiness.
Contact with green spaces makes us happy. Whether it’s a spectacular waterfall or a simple flower bed, we appreciate the beauty and order in our surroundings.
Ideas for Using Your Local Park
1. Slow Down.
Practice meditation in the park with a group or on your own. Find a comfortable place to sit and breathe.
2. Eat Lunch.
Squeeze a break into your busy schedule by eating lunch outdoors. Packing a bag lunch usually cuts costs and calories compared to most restaurants.
3. Attend Local Events.
Check the calendar on your park’s website. You may find free concerts, movies, and family events.
4. Work Out.
Today’s parks often offer much more than jogging trails. Look for circuit training stations, softball fields, and tennis courts. Exercise requires less effort when you’re admiring the scenery.
5. Clean Up.
Now that you realize how much your park can do for you, you may want to give something back. Join volunteer programs that pick up garbage, plant trees, or conduct tours for school children.
More Tips for Enjoying Nature
1. Tend to Your Garden.
Growing your own food and flowers is a great way to increase your gratitude for the earth. Plant tomatoes in your back yard or share a community plot.
2. Plan a Vacation.
Go camping or incorporate outdoor activities into any vacation. You can rent bikes or kayaks. Breakfast on the beach or go horseback riding in the mountains.
3. Take a walk.
What can you do if there’s no park nearby? Stroll around the neighborhood or a local college campus.
5. Spend Time With Your Pet.
Observing wild animals is entertaining and educational as long as you take reasonable safety precautions. If you want to interact more closely, walk your dog or play Frisbee together.
4. Go for a Swim.
While green spaces provide impressive benefits, blue spaces may be even more powerful. Spend some time near water. Install a fountain in your back yard or ask a hotel if you can purchase a pool membership. Some facilities offer discounts for local residents.
6. Gaze at the Stars.
Learn about science the fun way while you stimulate your sense of wonder. Shop for a basic telescope or check the calendar for public programs at community observatories.
7. Make Adjustments at Home.
For rainy days, invite the outdoors in. Arrange your furniture so you sit by a window with a view. Set out fresh flowers, pretty seashells, or anything else normally found outside.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Have you found that spending time outside helps your depression and boost your mood? Are you planning to add more time outside into your routine?