The Think FLEXibly Blog
Some ideas anyone can benefit from. Our blog is intended to provide current and future clients some ideas and resources that we think are great.
Spring and summer offer an abundance of opportunities for outdoor activities, each presenting a refreshing chance to connect with nature and promote better mental health. Emerging evidence indicates that immersing ourselves in nature can help decrease stress levels, boost mood, and improve overall wellbeing. So, how do you engage with nature to maximize these benefits? Here are some recommendations.
1. Take a Walk
Physical activity, especially walking in nature, can have a profound effect on our mental health. In fact, research shows that a 30-minute nature walk can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and stress. Spring and summer are perfect seasons for this. Listen to the birds chirping, watch squirrels play, or notice the leaves changing color. Engage all your senses and be mindful of your surroundings to achieve a state of relaxation.
2. Try 'Forest Bathing'
Forest bathing, also known as 'shinrin-yoku' in Japan, is a practice that involves immersing oneself in the forest environment. It's not about exercising but rather about soaking up the forest's ambiance. Take some time to stand still, breathe deeply, and let the calming effects of the forest wash over you. Studies suggest that forest bathing can lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of well-being.
3. Plant a Garden
Gardening provides a wonderful opportunity to nurture life and watch it grow. Whether you're planting flowers, vegetables, or herbs, the act of gardening can offer stress relief and a sense of accomplishment. If you live in an apartment, try container gardening or creating a small herb garden on your windowsill. The process of sowing seeds, watering plants, and watching them flourish is a gentle reminder of nature’s cycles and our role within them.
4. Engage in Outdoor Yoga or Meditation
Yoga and meditation are practices known for promoting peace and relaxation. Take your mat outside to enjoy the added benefits of practicing in nature. The tranquility of a quiet park, beach, or even your backyard can enhance these practices, making them more effective in reducing stress and anxiety.
5. Try Bird Watching
Bird watching can be a wonderfully peaceful activity, and spring and summer are great times for it, with many species more active and visible. This hobby encourages patience and mindfulness while fostering a deeper appreciation of our feathered friends and their natural habitats.
6. Have a Picnic
Something as simple as having a meal outside can drastically improve your mood. Prepare a picnic and find a local park or a quiet spot in your backyard. Eating outdoors can make meal times more enjoyable and create a deeper connection with the food we eat and the nature that surrounds us.
7. Keep a Nature Journal
Keeping a journal can be a beautiful way to connect more deeply with nature. Document what you observe: animals, plants, weather changes, and how these observations make you feel. This can create a lasting bond with the natural world and serve as a memory book of your personal journey.
Connecting with nature isn't just about going to grand mountains or vast forests; it can be as simple as noticing the plants along your sidewalk, the trees in your local park, or the birds in your backyard. So step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the multitude of benefits nature provides. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and nature is an amazing, accessible resource that can help nurture both. Enjoy the spring and summer to the fullest by immersing yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the great outdoors.
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