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Tension Buster: Getting Out in Nature

Have you ever been awe-stuck by the brilliance of a sunset, the freshness of mountain air, or the amazing way nature perfectly provides for all living creatures?

When was the last time you closed your eyes to savor the warmth of the sun on your face, or walked through dew-covered grass in the misty morning hours while the rest of the world slept?

Haven’t we all felt, even for a moment, uplifted, inspired, rejuvenated, or elated by mother nature’s magic touch?

Nature supports us and helps us feel less distracted and more at peace

A yoga lifestyle encourages us to live in harmony with nature, more in the mode of goodness, so we can raise our consciousness and become happier people.  

Spending time in nature, just lying under a tree and looking up at the leaves, taking a walk in the park, or practicing outdoor yoga are mode of goodness activities that help distance us from the modes of passion and ignorance that can result in greater anxiety and fear.

Scientists are studying how nature improves mental outlook

A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science suggests that walking in nature is linked to a lower risk of depression.

The study took a group of 38 healthy participants with no history of mental disorders and had each person walk for 90 minutes. Half of the participants walked by a 4-lane highway with heavy traffic, while the other half walked through a grassland scattered with trees and shrubs.  

Afterwards, researchers measured heart rate and respiration, performed brain scans, and gave participants questionnaires to pin point their experiences.

They detected few physiological changes amongst the participants after their walks, however they did chart significant differences in mood and mental state.

The nature-walk group focused far less on repetitive negative emotions—known as rumination, than the group that walked near the heavy traffic. They felt much better than the traffic group did.

In the fast-paced urban world many of us live in, the connection between depression and disconnection from nature is being observed over and over again. More and more studies reveal that city-dwelling is detrimental to our mental health.

Did you know over half the world lives in cities and by 2050 over 70% will live in urban areas?

For those of us who do live in urban areas, it’s important to find ways to carve out time in nature on a regular basis. Here are some fun ways to challenge yourself to spend more time in nature:

  • Go on a picnic instead of eating in front of the computer
  • Instead of watching TV when you’re tired, take a walk in the park
  • Ride your bike to work on a bike path
  • Aim to take 5 nature pictures every day
  • Exercise outdoors (swim, walk, jump on the trampoline)
  • Go camping for a weekend
  • Get your hands dirty in the garden

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