Take A Moment
Photo by Holly Mandarich
With the weather cooling down, it’s this moment where we often take advantage of the ‘nicer’ weather and head outside, or quite the opposite. With the all the commotion in our daily lives and increasing speed of change, finding a break is more essential than ever before. The great outdoors not only offers breathtaking scenery and thrilling adventures but also serves as a powerful catalyst for improving mental and physical well-being. This might not sound like your type of interest and we’re totally supportive of you just pickleballing on your free time but we’d like to share a little bit about outdoor activities and their profound impact on our minds and bodies.
The Mind-Body Connection
1. Stress Reduction: Outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, or simply strolling in the woods, have been proven to reduce stress levels significantly. The serene ambiance of nature helps lower cortisol, the stress hormone, promoting a sense of calm and tranquility.
2. Enhanced Cognitive Function: Engaging with nature enhances cognitive functions, including creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking. The natural environment provides a perfect setting for mental rejuvenation, fostering innovative thinking and mental clarity.
3. Mood Enhancement: Exposure to natural light and fresh air triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. Outdoor activities are linked to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, leaving participants with an overall sense of happiness and well-being.
1. Cardiovascular Health: Activities like hiking, kayaking, and jogging challenge the cardiovascular system, improving heart health and reducing the risk of heart diseases. The rhythmic nature of many outdoor activities also promotes a healthy heart rate and blood pressure.
2. Strength and Endurance: Engaging in activities that require physical effort, such as rock climbing or backpacking, strengthens muscles and enhances endurance. Regular outdoor exercise improves overall fitness, making everyday tasks easier to manage.
3. Vitamin D Absorption: Sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D, vital for bone health and immune system support. Spending time outdoors ensures the body receives an adequate amount of this essential vitamin, contributing to overall well-being.
The Healing Power of Nature
1. Nature Therapy: Ecotherapy, or nature therapy, is a recognized form of treatment for various mental health issues. Therapists and psychologists often incorporate outdoor activities into their sessions, harnessing nature’s healing power to assist individuals in their mental health journey.
2. Mindfulness and Presence: Nature has a unique way of grounding us in the present moment. Engaging our senses in the natural world – feeling the breeze, listening to birdsong, and smelling the earth – encourages mindfulness, reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of inner peace.
Taking a moment from everything, whether that be a couple minutes or a whole day, is something we should prioritize for ourselves. Being in the outdoors could potentially wipe out any day to day distractions, lose your cellphone signal, and provide a type of immersion that’s natural for us. To think that what we do everyday is beneficial and natural by any means is foolish and a sort of mental physical reset is absolutely necessary from time to time. By immersing ourselves in the beauty of nature, we tap into a deep well of healing, experience reduced stress, enhanced cognitive function, improved physical fitness, and a profound sense of contentment. So, the next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, consider stepping outside.