As the morning outdoor yoga class wound down with moments of mindful breathing and meditation, she looked upward from her yoga mat at the canopy of trees and realized how especially calm and at peace she felt.
Just how many times have you read of an enticing scenario such as this only to dismiss it as an unlikely opportunity for stress relief in your life? Perhaps yoga out under the trees may not suit your personal situation, but don't give up on nature!
Medical and psychological research has found that engaging in nature not only helps humans feel better emotionally but also facilitates physical benefits. In fact, many physical benefits such as lowered heart rates and blood pressure, release of muscle tension, and headache relief are actually tied to a reduction of anger, fear, and general stress.
The magic of natural settings is that they provide us with a diversion, a respite from the mental fatigue caused by our every day activities. Nature consumes us as it triggers our involuntary attention. Though maximum affects are achieved by being outdoors fully in nature engaging multiple senses at the same time, impressive improvements to well-being may be achieved by simply employing a single sense.
VIEW nature through a window or via gazing at an aquarium.
FEEL nature by tending a window box garden or house plants.
LISTEN to nature sounds: lapping waves, a gentle stream, birds singing, a heartbeat.
SMELL the scents of nature: herbs or freshly mowed grass.
Just 3 to 5 minutes of contact or immersion in nature provides enough diversion to significantly reduce stress and improve your overall wellness.