I've been in Napa + Sonoma this past week and it's been incredible. I love being in nature - it lifts my mood, relieves my stress and makes me feel more connected.
With spotty reception, I felt like I was somewhat off the grid. It's totally what I needed, because I was feeling tied to my iPhone, laptop and social networks, and less focused on my actual present surroundings.
Living in a big city where people are always in a hurry to do everything, it was nice to get away. Planning trips to decompress, spending time in Central Park or hanging out in any green space is essential to my well-being.
Professor Mark Williams at Oxford University said it well:
Studies show that interacting with nature can reduce stress and induce a feeling of calm. It fights feelings of depression and anxiety, elevates your mood, boosts creativity, and can even increase your self-esteem. It soothes you.
The Harvard Health Letter from July 2010 lists these amazing reasons to get outdoors:
- YOUR VITAMIN D LEVELS RISE - When the sunlight hits your skin, it leads to the activation of Vitamin D. As you know, it helps fight certain conditions from cancer to osteoporosis, but it also helps combat depression. Limited sun exposure is essential.
- YOU'LL GET MORE EXERCISE - It's inevitable, You'll be off your booty and moving your body. Kill two birds with one stone! :)
- YOUR CONCENTRATION WILL IMPROVE - Outdoor activity will help you feel refreshed, relaxed, energized and focused. Studies have shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) focus better after being outdoors. Don't we all have a bit of ADD or ADHD these days?
- YOU MAY HEAL FASTER - People recovering from surgery experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain meditations when exposed to natural light. An older study showed that windows with views of trees helped recovery in a hospital. That's pretty powerful.
- YOU'LL BE HAPPIER - You'll be exposed to more light... there's more available outside. It'll put you in a good mood, cheer you up, energize you and put some spring in your step.
Scientists also found that when people spend time in natural surroundings - forests, parks and places with trees - they experienced an increase in immune function.
The healing power of nature is so amazing.
SO, all that to say... spend some quality time outdoors this week. You'll be clear, calm, happy and ready for anything life throws your way.