The fifth strategy to naturally reduce stress, anxiety, and chronic emotional negative states, is spending time in nature. There are physiological changes that occur in the body when you spend time in nature that are advantageous not just to stress and anxiety but also to your other body systems.

Scientific studies back it…If you just spend 15 to 30 minutes in nature every day, you can have a significant impact on your anxiety and stress levels as well as many additional benefits such as boosting your immune system that works to combat abnormal cell growth (cancer) and ward off cold and flu.DR. CHAD LARSON

 

In episode 43 of his Keep It Real video series, Dr. Larson puts a focus on Step 5, getting outside and into nature!

There are five natural strategies that you can implement to decrease stress, anxiety and chronic negative emotional states they are:

  1. Breathing exercises
  2. Decrease exposure to artificial blue light
  3. Improve your sleep patterns
  4. Make dietary changes
  5. Spend more time in nature

 

There are physiological changes that occur in the body when you spend time in nature that are advantageous not just to stress and anxiety but also to your other body systems. An old practice, the Japanese have longed believed in the benefits of “Shinrin Yoku”, translated into spending time in nature or bathing in the forest. Scientific research was done to examine the way that spending time in nature improved your health.

 

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    • Researchers wanted to examine specifically what spending time in nature did, so they sent one group of subjects into an urban setting and another into a rural setting
    • They measured the both groups participant’s heart rate, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol levels both before and after. Cortisol is also known as the the stress hormone.
    • They then did a crossover study, whereby the switched the two groups and the urban setting group went to the rural setting, and the rural setting group went into the urban setting
    • What they found was that the benefits were the same for those who were in the rural or natural setting in both experiments

 

The participants who were in the rural setting had lower cortisol measurements, improved immunoglobulin A balance, heart rate improved and also lower blood pressure.Since cortisol controls physiological aspects of negative emotional moods and stress, the lower and more balanced measured levels proved that spending time in nature affects your anxiety and emotional status. The improved Immunoglobulin A is a measurement of how well your immune system is working, since immunoglobulin A levels being low makes you susceptible to illness, higher levels means that your immune system is functioning better. The lower measurements of the participant’s heart rate and blood pressure proved that being in nature affected their heart health. Most of the studies done, most importantly, have been short-term, sometimes as short as just one day…But, the research shows that if you merely sit in nature or go for a short stroll, the benefits are huge and can lead to lower anxiety and chronic negative emotions. There also appears to be a positive effect on something called NK cells; they are like the “superstar” white blood cells that work against abnormal cell growth (cancers) and illness like common colds and flu.

 

Did You Know?

When you can balance your cortisol to normal levels, what you find is that participants spend more time in the parasympathetic mode, versus the sympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight or flight response, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and chronic negative emotional status. If you just spend 15 to 30 minutes in nature every day, you can have a significant impact on your anxiety and stress levels as well as many additional benefits.
They have also done studies in hospitals where they compared patients who had beds that faced scenery and the outdoors versus beds that faced the parking lot. What they found was that those who had a view of nature had fewer incidences of those things that led them to come to the hospital, to begin with, than those who had nothing but the parking lot to look at.
The same is true of schools; a study was done where they placed six plants in the back of a middle school classroom without telling the students.

The students in the classroom with the plants had fewer absences from illness and less recorded behavioral issues when compared with other classrooms that did not have the plants. It has also been proven that in workplace environments when you bring natural plants in, creativity rises, workers experience less missed days due to illness, and the entire workplace moral appears to improve. So, to decrease stress and anxiety, and your overall health, either spend time in nature or bring nature inside.

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