Once again, research affirms what we know about the benefits of spending time in natural settings. Exposure to green trees, grass, bushes, and flowers, as well as blue spaces – those with still or running water – renews and refreshes us, helps us feel more connected to life.
Walking among nature also restores and rewires your brain. If you’re an urban dweller surrounded by few green spaces, the importance of reconnecting to nature is even greater. Spending time among the trees reduces our tendency to brood or constantly focus on the negative in ourselves and in our lives. According to the NY Times, brooding “can be a precursor to depression and is disproportionately common among city dwellers compared with people living outside urban areas.”
You can change your brain by consciously choosing to add nature’s beneficial greens and blues to your life:
- Sit under a tree or on the grass and appreciate nature’s beauty. Take it a step further by doing a 5-minute nature meditation. Close your eyes and shut out everything except the sounds, smells and how the air and ground feel where they touch your skin.
- If possible, stand by a fountain or the water’s edge and take in the sound and sight. The blueness of water is said to tap in to our natural attraction to that color. It’s overwhelmingly chosen as the favorite color and marketing research found that the color blue is associated with calm, openness, depth and wisdom.
- Place a vase of fresh flowers on your desk, or add a green plant that you tend and nurture. Not only are flowers and plants beautiful to look at, but their scent can reduce anxiety.
- Introduce nature’s sounds as your background noise – running water, chirping birds, wind and surf. You can do this anytime, anywhere by using your computer or mobile device. Simply search for “nature sounds” on YouTube and choose among a wealth of free relaxing videos with audio that will transplant your mind to another place.
An experience of nature may be just what you need to clear your mind and feel more energized, creative, centered and grounded.
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