Happiness for the Soul
There is nothing like being out in the natural beauty of the world for making the soul happy! I spent the later part of today walking through Willowdale State Forest located on the North shore of Massachusetts. The air was crisp, the snow was soft from the warmth of the sun, and my heart was HAPPY. Being outside can bring a sense of peace and lightness to our lives.
There are many new studies that are showing that being out in nature is good for our health, both physically and mentally! Being outside among the trees can help to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mood, increase our ability to focus, increase energy levels, and improve sleep our sleep quality. (1) I know I felt much more relaxed the second I entered the trails.
We are a stressed-out population. In 2017, the most common sources of stress included the future of our nation, money, work, the current political climate, and violence and crimes. (2) According to the Stress in America Survey conducted in 2017, Americans’ have an average stress level of 4.8 (on a scale of 1 to 10).(2) From 2016 to 2017, the survey also showed a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who had exhibited at least one symptom of stress during the past month. 71% of people in 2016 had experienced at least one symptom of stress and that number increased to 75% in 2017.(2)
The stress-related symptoms reported included:
36% of adults reported experiencing feeling nervous or anxious
35% feelings of irritability or anger
34% feeling fatigued
There are many signals that our body gives us that indicates we may be suffering from too much stress. (3)
There are many simple ways you can work on stress management including eating healthy foods, exercising, keeping a journal, learning to say “no”, learning to relax, and SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS. (3)
Here are 10 relaxing ways to find peace in nature that will help to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. (4)
Savor the Scenery
Take in the sights around you to help mentally prepare for your day or to help with destressing after a long day!
Wander the Wilderness
The goal of wandering around in the wilderness is to “aimlessly immerse yourself in the natural world around you.” The Japanese call this “forest bathing” and it can revitalize an exhausted mind.
Meditate on the Music
Take time to listen to the sounds nature has to offer like flowing water, chirping of the birds, the whistling of the wind through the trees, and to each foot step you take over the terrain.
Pose in Paradise
Research shows that the flow of endorphins may increase by practicing yoga outside.
Study in the Sunshine
The natural environment we have around us can enhance our cognitive abilities (memory and problem solving). Take time to sit outside and work on a project, paper, or your journaling.
Pack a Picnic
A picnic is a great way to spend time with friends and family.
Sleep Beneath the Stars
Whether you travel to a campground or tent out in your backyard, take time the enjoy the beauty of our galaxy.
Simmer in a Spring
“Hot springs have been shown to have healing effects on the body and mind, so traveling to one of nature’s jacuzzis is a great way to connect with the outdoors and soothe your soul.”(4)
Begin a Bucket List
Hold yourself accountable for doing the things you have always wanted to do or see in your life. “Make a list of the Natural Wonders you want to see, and plan how you’ll start crossing them off, one by one." (4) Where do you want to go? Who do you want to go with?
Opt for an Outdoor Office
Are you ready for a change in your career? There are many jobs that allow you to work outside like being a tour guide, a hiking or rafting guide, a farmer, or even a forest or park ranger.
Get Outside, Breathe Deeply, and LOVE LIFE!
About the Author: Leanne DiMaio earned her Master’s degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College in December 2017. She is currently working on her Doctorate degree in Clinical Nutrition degree at Maryland University of Integrative Health. Leanne is passionate about helping others achieve their optimal state of health and wellness. She is currently earning clinical hours toward the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential under Kim Ross's supervision
1. Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Dec.ny.gov. https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html. Published 2019. Accessed March 10, 2019.
2. American Psychological Association. Stress in America: The State of our Nation. Apa.org. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/state-nation.pdf. Published 2017. Accessed March 10, 2019.
3. Lipski, E. (2013). Digestion Connection (1st ed., p. 42). New York: Rodale.
4. American Heart Association. 10 Ways to Relax in Nature and Stress Less. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/10-ways-to-relax-in-nature-and-stress-less. Published 2018. Accessed March 10, 2019.