by Susan Ksiezopolski
Spending time outdoors during summer not only is good for our physical health with that extra boost of vitamin D, but it is also good to stimulate our creativity and our overall wellbeing.
A Danish study confirmed that being in a natural environment enhances our creativity. As it assists in re-energizing and directing our attention better. Nature also helps us to recharge and direct-attention which is needed to develop new ideas. Being in nature fosters our imagination. Surrounded by nature, our mind can unwind, rest and relax. This not only boosts our mood but also nurtures our ability to be more creative.
Studies have also shown that connecting with nature not only boosts our mood, but also lowers our blood pressure, decreases our cortisol levels and helps us to reset our nervous system. Nature is a refuge when we need an emotional or mental respite. Listening to the bees buzzing, or watching the flowers sway in the breeze and the birds flying overhead can create a sense of calm within us.
Breathing in the fresh air, the scent from the flowers and trees aids our immune system. A Japanese study found that even after a week of spending time in a forest, participants showed an increase level of natural killer cell activity, helping to fight infections and aid in cancer prevention.
Being outdoors resets our circadian rhythm which in turn improves sleep and quality of sleep. A study conducted at the University of Exeter, by Matthew White, Ph.D., concluded that 120 minutes of outdoor time leads to the most benefits. The 120 minutes (2 hours) can be all at one sitting or broken up into shorter time segments throughout the week. The study participants reported good health and higher levels of well-being compared to those who spent less than 2 hours outdoors per week. But do not despair if you don’t have 2 hours to spare outdoors, even as little as 5 minutes a day in green spaces can have benefits, improving self-esteem and mood (according to University of Essex study).
There are both physiological and psychological benefits to spending time outdoors in nature. Reconnect with nature for as much time as you have at your disposal to reap these benefits. Plan a trip to visit us at Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre, to spend some time outdoors and take in the creative energy of the grounds. Bring a sketch book, colouring book, a book to write in or just come as you are. Get in tune and reconnect with nature and be inspired!