Even walking outdoors or just spending time by a window can improve your mental, physical and emotional health.
Nature may be one of the keys to mental health, but what if you can’t hike or spend hours outdoors? I noticed that the time was getting shorter.
“As an academic librarian, I have the same responsibilities of publishing, teaching, and serving as a faculty member,” said Mastel, who works at the University of Minnesota. rice field.”
Masterl knew that spending time in nature was a central part of who he was and was essential to his well-being practice. I spent more time outdoors to reconnect with nature and reconnect with myself,” she says.
The goal less stress
Scientists have long known that nature has a positive effect on the brain. Studies have shown that the amygdala, the part of the brain that helps process stress, is activated more frequently in people living in cities than in people living in the countryside.
“I spend more time outdoors, not just going for walks, but just sitting and observing nature.”
But new research from the Lise Meitner Group for Environmental Neuroscience finds that the natural world has a direct impact on stress reduction. In the analysis, amygdala activity remained the same after participants walked a busy city street for an hour, and researchers believe that urban exposure does not increase a person’s stress levels.
However, study participants’ activity decreased after an hour’s walk in the forest. The study further revealed that communication with nature can prevent mental health problems in individuals living in cities.
“Spending time immersed in nature does wonders for our brains.”
“Spending time immersed in nature does wonders for our brains. It enhances the senses and promotes mindfulness that stimulates the brain, thereby improving cognitive function and fighting anxiety and depression. ,” said Christine Kingsley, director of health and wellness at the Lung Institute. in Manchester, Connecticut.
“Forest bathing helps boost immunity because it exposes a person to an atmosphere rich in phytoncides, compounds released by trees that cause an increase in natural killer (NK) cells in the blood.”
Kingsley continued, “A boosted immune system means that the body’s protective responses to harmful viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances are supercharged to keep infections and diseases at bay, specifically high blood pressure. and reduce the risk of chronic heart failure.”
15 minute forest
Mr. Mastel learned forest bathing while studying in Japan. So she began offering forest bathing sessions to the University of Minnesota community to address mental health issues due to isolation during the pandemic.
“Studies show that optimal health benefits come from spending 120 minutes outdoors each week, but even just 15 minutes can help reduce the fight-or-flight response of the nervous system.” Mr Mastell says.
Outdoor activities that allow a person to connect with nature benefit physical and mental health.
But outdoor activities that allow people to connect with nature can benefit physical and mental health. I suggest sitting under a tree for the elderly who are in need. This reduces the chance of injury and muscle and joint problems.
Additionally, remove all distractions such as crossword puzzles, books, and electronic devices. “By getting you to think about what you smell, what colors you see, and what the air feels like, you sharpen your senses and provide all the mental health benefits you need. Doing this for at least 15 minutes a week is enough, but for older patients it can take up to an hour a day of downtime,” says Kingsley.
Other ways to connect with nature
For seniors who cannot go outdoors, these options are a great step to incorporate into their daily or weekly routine.
- Kingsley says spending time with open windows can be of great benefit, as long as patients are exposed to natural air, smells and visual landscapes. “The immune-boosting effects are absorbed by breathing in the air around trees and plants, so they need air circulation from nature.”
- Barefoot turf mats serve to stimulate the brain and stimulate the senses, says Kingsley, but plucking leaves and flowers and adding soil to a bowl to touch and see can do even more. can be increased.
- Place a bird feeder near a window to attract birds and create an immersive experience even when the birds are inside the room. Spend time identifying the birds that visit your feeders to further activate your brain.
- Let’s create a “sitting place” for the elderly. “One of the simplest practices anyone can adopt is place to sit, or a favorite spot outdoors (or indoors), ideally close to home,” says Mastel. Observe the patterns of nature and use all five senses to observe the area. Get comfortable and you’ll be amazed at what he’ll discover in just five minutes in that special place. ”
- Look for natural objects during your walk and collect some to take home. Search for textures and colors. Place a “touch bowl” indoors for seniors who can’t go outside and fill it with leaves, pine cones, stones, feathers, or other natural objects. “I collected his items outdoors and created activities in nursing home facilities,” he says Mr. Mastel. “Participants reflected on their childhood experiences with nature, explored different textures and scents, and created works with natural objects.”
- Finally, “practicing breathing exercises is the best thing older people can do in nature,” says Kinglsey. This will activate all your senses and help you reap all the mental health benefits of being outdoors. Additionally, breathing the air allows you to take in all the phytoncides and improve your overall health.