My husband jokes that I have “uncontrollable rage”. It almost always happens during those times when I am either exhausted or hangry (hungry + angry…you know what I’m talking about). It usually leads to me yelling or stomping out of the room or something ridiculous in which he responds with a giggle.
But, I hope you don’t think I’m a crazy person. I don’t consider myself an angry person and I definitely don’t think I’m “uncontrollable”. I think that most people who know me would say I’m pretty calm and even keel.
But, he does have a point. Sometimes I do get angry, stressed, overwhelmed, over-tired, irritable, and just downright mean. Since he’s the one person I see every day, he is usually the one to witness the “uncontrollable rage”.
To reduce any feelings of stress and overwhelm, I take a drug. That drug is called nature. No joke!
My Need for the Nature Drug
Getting outdoors is one of the best things for a human being. Study after study has shown that being in nature has many health benefits, including physical, emotional, and mental benefits.
“The best medicine may actually be right outside your door.”
In one study, people taking brief nature walks showed lower depression and stress levels and an overall enhanced mental well-being.
After diving further into the research, I found so much more about Mother Nature and all the goodness she is providing for us:
Physical Benefits of Nature
- Nature can fight off illness and improve your immunity
- Getting outdoors increases our likelihood of activity and reduces the chances of obesity
- Spending time in nature can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, as wells as reduce muscle tension and aid in muscle recovery
Mental Benefits of Nature
- Working out in nature can improve mental health
- Being in nature can improve our attention levels and help us focus
- Long stretches of time in nature, such as when camping or backpacking, can improve our creativity and problem-solving skills
- Getting outside in nature can even make you nicer
Spiritual Benefits of Nature
- God created us in nature and placed us in a garden. Getting back into nature gives us a place to reconnect with our Creator.
- Being in nature gives us time to slow down and reflect. Without technology and without distractions, we are able to take a step back from the day to day life and just live in the moment.
“Nature gives us a chance to reconnect with our hearts.”
Regardless of the benefits of nature, studies are showing that there has been a downtrend in the amount of time spent in nature since 1987, including visits to National Parks, camping, hiking, and backpacking activities.
How to Get a Prescription for Nature
Luckily, there is no doctor prescription needed for this drug. You just need to make a little effort to get out there. For the city-dwellers or Northerners in winter, it may be more of a challenge, but you can still make it happen. Here are some of my tips for getting your daily dose of Mother Nature:
- Buy weather-appropriate clothing so you can get outside during all seasons. Don’t hole up in your house in the winter. Get a hat, a warm coat and some gloves and get out there!
- Find seasonal activities and sports that you can do. Try some water sports like kayaking or paddleboarding. If you would prefer dry land, give biking or hiking a try! If the weather blues get you down every year, it’s time for a new outdoor hobby! Try snow skiing or snow shoeing. It will get you outdoors and doing something active in those cold winter months when it’s tempting to sit inside.
- You must make time in your day to get outside. If you know you’re going to be cooped up at work all day, plan to take your lunch break outside or plan extra time to walk home from work and take a stroll through the park on the way. You don’t have to go on an epic backpacking trip to enjoy the nature drug.
- If there is no way you can get outside that day (there better be a hurricane or blizzard if you are going to use that excuse) then take a look at some scenic landscapes. One study showed that even just looking at outdoor landscapes had emotional benefits.
Since moving to Oregon and getting involved in more outdoor activities, I have noticed a big improvement in my overall mood. I don’t remember the last time I had “uncontrollable rage” or even felt stressed or unhappy. I really do think Mother Nature is making a big impact on my overall well-being.
Mother Nature got her own commercial when NatureRx created this hilarious but eye-opening video about how nature is a drug everyone should be taking.
I am a huge advocate for the nature drug.
Watch this video and then go do something outside!