How spending time in nature can boost our immunity, mental health
- Not connecting with nature could be partly responsible for the increase in number of mental health issues we all are facing from depression to anxiety.
What is it that makes a walk in the park, a running session or even looking out of balcony rejuvenating and destressing? There are times when stress gets the better of us and restricts us from delivering our best or even take correct decisions. Experts say that during pandemic times not getting out of homes and connecting with nature could be partly responsible for the increase in number of mental health issues we all are facing from depression to anxiety.
"If you want to boost immunity in an easy, relaxing way, spend time in green spaces, daily if possible and definitely every week. Spending time in green spacesis as vitally important as eating your greens," tweeted Dr Frank Lipman, a celebrity doctor and physician from South Africa.
"Too many folks are walled off from the natural world, not to mention other people. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health found that adults spend an average of only 5% of their day outside – so is it any wonder why so many folks feel blah, uninspired or mildly depressed? says Dr Lipman.
He also lists benefits of connecting with nature:
"Spending time in nature for urbanites can be as simple as a lunch break on a bench in a botanical garden or lounging in a park looking at puffy clouds—two quick and easy options if you are time-pressed. Rejuvenation from nature does not have to be from a walk in a forest," says Dr. Lipman.
If your mind is overworked and stressed, all it needs is a little recharge that nature could provide in the best possible way. When we step outside and look at the trees, sky, clouds and birds, our body releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin that elevates our mood.
"Simply being present in nature helps trigger a cascade of beneficial effects. The parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for calming us, switches on, cortisol drops, and the brain pumps the brakes, as you drift into a state of soft-focus awareness," adds Dr. Lipman.
Dr. Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai says that our connection with nature is quite instinctive considering we have evolved from nature itself and now living in a concrete jungle for not some hundred years or so. Calling nature an automatic stressbuster, Dr Anand says if we deprive ourselves from the sensory stimuli, we are not in tune with ourselves.
She says that being in nature helps us heal in the following ways:
Stressbuster: When you step out of the house and be in the company of nature, it releases happy hormones and helps release stress.
Improves problem solving capacity: It gives us a new perspective and increases our problem solving capacity. More than anything else, it breaks the monotony of the same settings.
Boosts immunity: If you are in house continuously, you are not exposed to anything. When you step outside you are exposed to so many things, and the body produces antibodies against it. While staying at home, our body doesn't get a chance to produce these antibodies, and that may impact our immunity.
For those who stay glued to their screen even after their office and complain of stress, get out of your houses and embrace the healing powers of nature to press the refresh button.