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Healing Through Nature Author: Katherine Pretorius Since the dawn of time to the modern-day era, human beings have become an indoor species. Recent studies have shown that we spend an average of 90 percent of our time indoors which leaves a mere 10 percent for time spent outside. This is very different from our ancestors who walked the earth barefoot and slept beneath the stars. We have become imprisoned by our technologically driven world which leaves us cut off from the natural world outside our windows and the true effects of this separation are seldom noticed. But what are the impacts of spending too much time indoors and how do we mitigate them? Too much time spent indoors can have negative impacts on our physical and mental health, and general state of well-being. Our ancestral roots are found in nature and separating ourselves from it’s essence comes at great risk. Making a conscious decision to spend more time in nature will bring about a host of benefits for your mind, body and soul. A deep connection to nature can help you heal your mind and body while reconnecting you with your true self. Of the many benefits to spending time in nature, here are five worthy of consideration: Nature reduces stress It has been noted that spending time outdoors lowers cortisol levels. Being exposed to sunlight helps lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Just a few minutes spent outdoors allows you to experience the relaxing effects of nature. Be more active It has been shown that physical activity replaces inactive pursuits. Spending too much time indoors often means less physical activity. Getting outside means less time spent on electronic devices and more time spent doing physical things that put our bodies in motion. Improved Concentration Spending time in nature improves creative thinking and concentration. Studies have shown that people with ADHD tend to focus better after spending time outdoors. Increased Vitamin D Levels Just 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight per day helps to create vitamin D which is needed to strengthen your bones and promote vitamin absorption. Improve Mental Health Interacting with nature can reduce anger, increase self-esteem and improve our psychological well-being. It can also have positive effects on our behaviour and emotions. Reaping these benefits is within reach but it means making a commitment to spend time outside every day. It needs to be a conscious and intentional act and more than simply taking a walk from one place to another. We need to take in all the subtle nuances of the natural world, all the sites and sounds that often go unnoticed and take the time to appreciate and experience the connection between body, spirit and the universal energy that is nature. “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks” – John Muir
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