The Effect Nature Has on Your Mood
Three ways nature can positively impact your mood
The Effect Nature Has on Your Mood
Nature has always been complementary to physical and mental healing. After being cooped inside for weeks at a time for the past couple of years, many have made it a habit to spend more time outdoors. Some took up new hobbies such as mounting climbing and camping as safer and more liberating alternatives to their indoor recreational activities.
Spending time in nature substantially benefits a person’s overall well-being. A study conducted at the University of Exeter involving 20,000 people found that spending at least two hours a week in outdoor spaces aids their physical and psychological welfare.
Everyone, regardless of age, abilities, disabilities, or healthcare needs, stands to benefit from nature. Apart from making you happy, being in nature can increase your confidence and independence, reduce stress and anxiety, and spark your imagination.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at three ways nature can positively impact your mood:
Nature boosts cognitive health and creativity
Interacting with nature has a multitude of cognitive benefits. It can minimize anger, promote calmness, and decrease feelings of isolation. A body of scientific literature on NCBI showed how an increased exposure to nature improved cognitive function and brain activity. Some of these reports even tackle the long-term effects of spending time outdoors on depression and anxiety.
At their very core, these studies demonstrate how being in nature, or even simply viewing nature, can turn negative thoughts and feelings around.
Being with nature can also prompt a sense of awe and ignite creativity. It’s no wonder that famous artists like Claude Monet, Robert Frost, and Georgia O’Keeffe put nature at the center of their work.
Nature inspires self reflection and positivity
We live in a world governed by technology and automation. Being in front of screens all day limits our capacity to imagine and decreases opportunities for us to reflect and meditate. Because humans have a natural affinity for nature, the balance between the mind, body, and spirit can get disrupted by heavily artificial structures and machinery.
Going back to the earth reunites us with our most authentic selves. Nature as Mirror describes how nature can reflect our life experiences and help us form a vision that guides and sustains us. The author, psychosynthesis practitioner Stephanie Sorrell, presents nature as a tool for self-awareness and spiritual growth. Indeed, her thesis proves that it is in nature that we can return as the front and center of our own lives. By allowing nature’s steady growth and changes throughout the seasons to influence our mindset, it’s easier to embrace things beyond our control, leading to a happier disposition.
Nature helps alleviate stress and anxiety
When we breathe in fresh air, our brain produces more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a sense of happiness and well-being. The amount of oxygen in our bloodstream determines the serotonin levels in our body. Normal levels of serotonin lead to a happier and calmer disposition. Thus, being in nature and away from the city’s pollutants allows us to breathe deeply and lifts our mood.
Nature can also be an avenue to overcome mental distress and deep-seated emotional pain. Anna Sethi chronicles in I Belong Here, her published book, how hiking through hills and mountains after her experience of a race-related hate crime helped relieve her anxiety and panic attacks. Spending time in nature allowed her to take a step back and release her fears, reminding her that what happened to her doesn’t define her.
Staying close to nature and appreciating its beneficial effects on our mood and overall health can be tremendously therapeutic and healing. Because our lives are deeply interwoven with nature, spending time with it can help us understand ourselves better and improve our mood and general disposition.