Imagine it’s a warm summer day and you’re sitting on the soft, green grass as a gentle breeze blows through the air. You can hear birds chirping, calling out to each other as leaves rustle in the breeze. You watch as squirrels chase each other up, down, and around the trees. Think about the mood that you are in when you’re outside and in nature. In general, people who imagine this scene will most likely say that they feel relaxed, happy, or content.

Improving Mental Health

Research shows that being outside and surrounded by nature can decrease an individuals’ anxiety and stress. It has also been found to decrease depression and improve a person’s general mood. Not only that, but it can also increase your cognitive abilities such as attention, impulse control, and concentration.

Often when someone is outside, they are doing something active, such as walking, jogging, gardening, or riding a bicycle. So it’s important to ask if it is exercise in general that improves mental health, or is there something about nature specifically that improves mood? Well, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health, Stanford researchers found that walking in nature improved mental health more than simply walking in the city

Enhancing Learning 

Being outside also has extra benefits for children. Researchers have found that children who learn outside or in a classroom with a view of nature have higher test scores and are more enthusiastic about learning than children who sat in a classroom without a view. Nature may also help children with ADHD. A study was done on adding green spaces (places of nature) around cities. Researchers found that when children with ADHD played in the green spaces, their symptoms were more manageable compared to when they played inside.

Improving Sleep 

Being in nature can also improve is your sleep quality. Researchers have found that people who spend more time in nature have better sleep quality than people who don’t spend as much time outside. This occurs because being in the natural sunlight regulates your sleep cycle.

So, the next time that you’re feeling stressed or anxious, take a walk surrounded by nature. It will not only help to ease your mind, but you may discover a lot of other benefits as well!

Written by Alexa Anders