Hidden Benefits of Time Spent in Nature
I grew up in the days before streaming video and Xbox. In fact, we were so poor, we watched television only on our Saturday visits to the town’s general store! Whenever the Toler boys were bored, Mom would settle us down with a firm order to “Go outside and play!”
It always worked. We discovered that being outdoors banished boredom and opened up dozens of new possibilities.
I’ve held on to that lesson. Though nearly all of my work is done inside, I regularly make time to get back to nature. I’ve discovered these benefits for personal well-being, and I know they’ll help you too.
- Being outside takes your mind off your problems.
There’s no greater stress buster than walking outside on a sunny day or looking up at a starry night. Listening to the wind, watching the birds, or just relaxing in the cool breeze will alter your frame of mind.
That’s because being outside, even in your backyard, is a change of venue. Change your scenery, and you’ll change your perspective.
- Being outside encourages activity.
If you’re like me, you would rather not run on a treadmill. But step outside and you’ll likely be motivated to take a walk, pick up sticks in the backyard, or toss a ball with the kids. Get your lungs filled with air, move those cramped muscles, and you’ll feel a whole lot better.
- Being outside prompts gratitude.
It’s a rare person who can look at a maple tree in full leaf or a flowing river or even well-trimmed lawn and not say, “Wow!” Seeing the marvelous world God created reminds us of all the good things we have to enjoy: life, health, family, food—and the glory of the created world. Spending time in nature will produce a swell of gratitude, and that pays dividends long after you return inside.
- Being outside reminds you of who God is—and who you are.
Most of us take life a bit too seriously from time to time. We stake far too much emotion on the next decision, the upcoming deadline, or the current relationship problem. We want to be in control.
Looking at the vast sky, the surging ocean, or even the flight of a hummingbird will remind you that there is a God—and it’s not you! There’s nothing like spending time outside to put your problems in perspective.
When was the last time you took a walk, kicked a ball, or dozed off in a hammock? Try one of those activities today and you’ll sleep better tonight, I guarantee it.
What about you? What’s your favorite outdoor activity for opening your mind and improving your health?
I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter.
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