How Nature Can Nurture the Soul (and Help Driving Fears)


Stressed out? Freaked out? Incessantly riddled with driving fears or driving anxiety? A nice dose of nature may do you good, and one study has now determined just how much nature you need to reap its benefits.

Duration and Benefits of Nature

The study, which was published in “Nature Scientific Reports,” found that if people would spend at least 30 minutes per week in an urban park, they could reap benefits that include the reduced risk of developing:

  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Not only can a regular dose of nature reduce the risk of developing such conditions, but it can help you unwind or de-stress an already wound-up or anxious mind.

Thirty minutes per week equates to a single short, half-hour park jaunt. Or you could break it down into even shorter five-minute park jaunts every day of the week. Environmental scientists in Australia and the U.K. that conducted the study additionally pointed out the need for urban green spaces to give folks the opportunity to enjoy nature in a city environment.

But you need not limit your nature exposure to city parks. Additional studies have found just being outdoors around trees and grass can do the trick, which works if you have both in your backyard. (Although you won’t get the same benefits from staring at hi-res images of nature on a computer screen.)

5 Ways to Include More Nature in Your Daily Life

Move your indoor activities outdoors. Whether you’re paying bills on your home laptop or chopping onions for the family dinner, try doing it outside. The backyard patio, balcony or front porch can help make the mundane a bit more relaxing and stress-free.

Move during your business meetings. Business meetings can also be held outside, either as a sit-down in a park or as a “moving meeting” as conceived by professors at Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

All workers head outside to walk and talk while they conduct the meeting. Moving meetings not only get employees outside and exercising, but the change of scenery may also spur more creative thinking.

Volunteer outside. Even if you don’t officially sign up for a volunteer program that targets parks, you can stage your own outdoor activities for the good of the community. Clean up a highway, vacant lot or stretch of nearby river. Helping to conserve nature can do double duty as a stress-beater for yourself and a way to do good for others.

Walk outside. Whether you’re walking the dog, heading with your children to the corner store or simply taking a leisurely after-dinner stroll, walking is one of the easiest ways to take in the beauty of nature at any pace you desire.

Play outside. Dog and children bored with walking? It’s time to try playing. Join them in their daily or weekly play at the park or in the yard.

These ideas are just a start, but they can quickly fill the quota of getting at least 30 minutes of nature per week to help alleviate stress, depression, high blood pressure and anxiety.


Photo Credit: liyagella via Compfight cc