Thanks to the power of nature, you can improve your mental health in as little as five minutes.
Researchers at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom looked at the impact exercising in a green environment has on mental health. They found that only five minutes of movement in a green setting (e.g., walking, gardening, cycling outdoors) was enough to mentally recharge and boost mental health. After five minutes the benefits plateaued suggesting that the biggest return on investing time outside is gained in the first five minutes.
It is incredible that in as little as five minutes of outdoor activity in nature, you can give your brain a break, gain a fresh outlook and offer a mental reboot. Take time throughout the day to take a break and tap into its health benefits.
Research also suggests that spending time in nature may:
Lower the stress hormone cortisol
Lessens the physical and mental effects of stress
Reduce blood pressure and heart rate
Increase immune cells called natural killer cells that fight viruses
Give a boost to your mood
Help to lift depressive symptoms
Decrease feelings of anxiety and worry
Improve mental clarity, focus, and concentration
Ways to incorporate more nature into your day:
- Spend time outdoors on your coffee or lunch break by taking a walk through a local park or find a spot near the ocean or body of water to take in nature.
- Consider moving your meetings outdoors. Walking meetings are a terrific way to connect with others while benefitting from being outdoors. Win/win!
- Put it into your schedule; block time each day to head outside
- Head out for a hike on a day off and notice the different shades of autumn that are present
- Consider bringing the outdoors in by incorporating more plants into your workspace
Write yourself a “wellness prescription” of taking a nature break 5 minutes/day and repeat, as necessary. Your wellbeing will thank you for it.