Managing stress in a healthy way is the of the key principals to a naturally healthy life. Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, we can’t get away from it, however we can implement tools to help us manage it in a healthy way and decrease its impact on our physical, mental and emotional health. One of the most powerful ways to decrease the stress impact on your health is to spend more time outdoors.
Researchers are discovering that surrounding yourself with nature can be one of the most powerful stress-relievers out there.
Lowers Stress Hormones
In a recent study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, scientists measured the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 25 healthy adults in Scotland. Those who lived in the areas with the most amount of green space had lower levels of cortisol, and they reported feeling less stress than those who spent more time in urban settings.
When it comes to reducing stress, there’s just something about being in our natural element that’s hard to beat, says lead study author Catharine Ward Thompson, director of the OPENspace Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Being in wide open spaces mean more opportunities to increase your health and vitality and here’s why…
Being outdoors means more exercise. Exercise is the best natural mood booster. Combine that with fresh air, sunshine and wide open spaces and your mood is boosted exponentially. Exercise is one of the best relievers and being outdoors helps to calm your nervous system, regulate internal body systems and detox, bringing more clarity and vitality.
“Take advantage of opportunities to visit a green space as often as possible, even if only for five minutes, to help enhance your wellbeing and reduce your stress levels,” says Thompson.
Sunshine is also a natural mood booster and stress reliever. Many of our internal systems are regulated by your body’s circadian rhythms which aligns your physiology with the external environment. Your internal clock does much more than just help you sleep in the evening.
Dr. Mercola says, “Your body actually has many internal clocks – in your brain, lungs, liver, heart and even your skeletal muscles – and they all work to keep your body running smoothly by controlling temperature and the release of hormones, some of which impact your mood. Your circadian rhythm depends on receiving sunlight at the right times (during the day) in order to function properly.
If you do not get much sunlight when your body is expecting it – for example because you’re inside working all day or the weather is cold and cloudy – it can easily lead to changes in your brain that will negatively impact your mood.”
Research also clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention. Vitamin D affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors, which bind to specific locations of the human genome.
Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels, and vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the human body.
We get rid of 80% of the toxins in our body through out breath, yet most of us breathe too shallow. Meaning most of us are keeping too many of these toxins in our body. Toxins inside the body harm cells and body functions and can cause you to feel more tension, stress and irritation. Being outdoors and engaging in some form of exercise, like walking, stimulates you to breathe more deeply and release more of these toxins.
Five minutes outside is all it takes get the mood-boosting effect, according to a 2010 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Researchers found that people experienced the largest boosts to their mood and self-esteem after just spending five minutes outside doing some form of light exercise, like walking.