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Being Outdoors

Rebecca Bennington Blog Picture

Ahh, the outdoors, the smell of fresh air, the breeze, and the sound of birds. Is this all it takes to be happy? For some, yes, just sitting on the back porch or deck can make people feel relaxed and happy. But what is it about being outdoors that makes someone happy? For me, sometimes it is just sitting on my deck and watching my dogs play or grabbing a quick nap. But my true feeling of being happy is getting out of the way of everything and going into the woods off the beaten path, just to see what I can find. If you sit long enough, nature seems to forget you are there.  You may see an occasional deer, or other wildlife and the birds start to call again. I have no one around to talk about politics, news, or gossip. It puts things into perspective. I can think about the good things going on in my life or even the not so good and when I look around at what is around me, I find nature is in no real hurry.   Life and time just slowly go by. In fact, nature’s only time is day and night, and changing of the seasons.

There are times I think I should write a journal while enjoying nature, but the truth is that’s something I must carry and think that writing sounds like work and that does not make me happy. I want to be happy, so it’s just me a bottle of water and the woods. Your time in the woods doesn’t always have to be off the beaten path.  Metro/city parks as well as state and national parks offer a great opportunity to experience nature. If you go during weekdays there are fewer people and there are times you have the trail to yourself. Now, if you don’t want to be alone there are plenty of local groups you can join who take all levels of hikers and you make new friends, which brings happiness.

Let’s look at the medical, dental, and scientific reasons that being outdoors makes you happy.

Being outdoors makes you happy because nature balances the hormones in your body. These hormones coordinate and regulate the different functions and processes of your body. If these hormones are not balanced, your emotions fluctuate, leading to a range of feelings within a short period of time. Additionally, spending time outdoors has several other positive effects:

  • Lowers Blood Pressure and Reduces Stress: Simply walking among or looking at trees can lower blood pressure and reduce stress-related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Improves Mood: Researchers have found that nature simply makes us happy. Anxiety, depression, and anger are notably decreased after spending time outdoors2.
  • Connection to Nature: When you feel a connection to nature, you tend to be happier than those who do not.

So, whether it’s a sunny afternoon in the park or a morning stroll around your neighborhood, spending time outdoors can significantly boost your well-being and lift your spirits. (Source- Bing)

There are many studies that show being outdoors can improve your health, mostly all showing the same results. So, it depends on your level of tolerance of the outdoors whether you choose being in a city park or going off the beaten path. As the frequent advertisements say, check with your doctor before starting a program. Get out there and improve your health, maybe meet new friends, or go alone, if it makes you happy.

 

 

Read about additional benefits of spending time outdoors here:

Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

5 Ways Being Outdoors Can Make You Healthier and Happier | Sharp HealthCare

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Craig Gallaugher

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