Who could have known that being in nature for even just ten minutes a time, could be beneficial to your mental health? We did!
In a recent article by Coastal Virginia Magazine, the healing properties of nature were revealed with an emphasis of how influential these properties were to Coastal Virginians. During many stressful months, nature was our solace. After many stay at home orders, nature seemed to be the one place that people could go to escape their homes while still distancing from others. This helped people who were experiencing stress from all of the trials and tribulations of life to have an antidote to that stress, through a natural phenomenon.
That phenomenon is called “nature therapy” (or ecopsychology) and it can be prescribed to everyone. It has been proven to be a very effective, preventative measure against stress, anxiety, depression, sicknesses, and lack of focus. Nature is also the most effective way to boost moods. The ideal period of time outside to achieve these benefits is ten to fifty minutes, a day. After the fifty minute mark, these benefits tend to plateau. In a study led by the University of Exeter, 20,000 people reported how they felt after their time outside. They found that people who spent more than two hours outside, weekly, reported significantly higher rates of psychological and healthy well being. You don’t even need to be exercising outside to achieve these benefits, in fact, studies by Cornell University show that these benefits are mostprevalent in those who are either sitting or walking.
Nature nourishes people because it makes people feel safe. Feeling safe lowers high blood pressure, stress hormone levels, allows for self-confidence to improve, and jump starts cognitive function. Many disorders, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, can be lessened in the natural environment and the healing process can be initiated. Many therapists and psychiatrists are prescribing their patients a dose of nature and consequently their patients have reduced feelings of isolation, a more calm demeanor, and an elevated mood. All of these effects are not widely seen in medications and other forms of treatments, so often, going outside is the best a patient can do for themselves.
Here in Coastal Virginia, we live in one of the most beautiful spots in the state and we have access to various public and private parks within steps of our homes. WPL has helped to cultivate and design many of these natural areas for all to enjoy, including- Mount Trashmore Park, Aerial Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Center, Chesapeake City Park, Pleasure House Point, Portsmouth City Park, Woodstock Park, and more. With many amenities for all family members to enjoy, you can explore all Coastal Virginia has to offer while destressing. So the next time you are feeling anxious, step outside and breathe in the benefits!