Why We Need to Go Outdoors

Too much time with electronics are not only draining us, but affecting our minds and bodies as well. The following article by Greatist lists a few science-backed reasons why we should consider engaging with the outdoors a bit more often:

 

  1. It’ll reset your internal clock.

Melatonin, which is a hormone released in response to darkness, is now being released much later due to our overexposure to artificial light. Thus, our sleep schedule is thrown off track.

According to this recent study, just one weekend in the woods will automatically reset your inner clock (or circadian rhythm). The study found that participants who camped for a weekend fell asleep and woke up earlier in comparison to the control group of participants who stayed home. Another note: There was an increase in participants’ melatonin after they returned from camping, meaning they were able to fall asleep sooner and stay asleep longer. The study noted, however, that it is really easy to reverse those benefits when you get home if you go back to screens before sleep, so try to power down before bedtime and enjoy the outdoors while the sun is out.

  1. It’ll boost your creativity.

There is data to support the fact that spending time outdoors actually stimulates creativity and replenishes attention. One study immersed participants in nature for four days and prohibited them from using any type of technology. During the duration of the backpacking trip, participants had to take several creativity tests, and researchers found test scores increased by a whopping 50 percent after four days in nature.

  1. You’ll become more resourceful.

According to a study previously mentioned, time in nature also stimulates our problem-solving skills and strengthens cognition. By distancing yourself from technological stimulation and daily trials and tribulations, you are allowing the part of your brain that controls problem-solving, selective attention, and multitasking to restore itself.

  1. It’ll improve your self-esteem and mood.

This study found that walking 90 minutes in nature decreases activity in a key region of the brain associated with depression. Researchers had two groups walk for the same amount of time, one in an urban area and one in nature. Although researchers found no physiological change in either group, brain scans revealed a mental one. In the nature group, neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex portion of the brain (the part responsible for negative thought) decreased.

  1. It’ll positively impact your health.

According to the American Psychological Association, “noise pollution” is a thing and may lead to higher blood pressure, stress, and fatal heart attacks. By taking yourself away from a hyperactive environment and spending time in nature, your mind will have the chance to stabilize and relax, which will leave you healthier in the long run.

The full article can be read here.

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