The Healing Nature of Nature
by Neva J. Howell unless otherwise noted
The Healing Effects of Spending Time In Nature
Guest Article by Sally Perkins
There are natural remedies such as supplements for heart health that can heal physical ailments. Of course, eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg straight from the ground is also important for keeping you healthy for longer. However, did you know that simply spending time among nature can have healing benefits? Here’s how a short walk in the woods or time spent sat atop a hill could help you overcome health problems.
Increased Vitamin D
Anyone living north of San Francisco or Philadelphia is likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. Even if you do live closer to the equator, you can’t get enough vitamin D unless you are outside for at least 15 minutes a day because you need direct contact with sunlight.
Without enough vitamin D intake, you are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairments, asthma and even cancer. A short walk in the countryside should be enough to ensure sufficient vitamin D consumption, keeping you healthy and free from these health problems.
There are studies which have suggested that by spending time among nature, you can even heal more quickly. This is especially true if you are in a sunny environment. In one hospital, patients who stayed on the sunny side of the ward had 21% less pain medication costs.
We are naturally wired to enter a kind of flow state among nature, becoming absorbed by its beauty. We become more outward looking and can forget ourselves for a while. This can help to direct our attention away from our poor physical health, so that we can heal more quickly and with less pain involved.
Improved Mental Health
The natural world has incredibly beneficial calming effects. When near running water and breathing in clean air, we are able to become totally present with our surrounding. This aids a natural state of mindfulness and contributes to positive mental health. Through lowering stress, you can find mental wellbeing.
You can use this environment to suppress natural feelings of anxiety and fear to meditate and connect to your spirituality among nature. This will allow you to overcome internal emotional pain and therefore find true happiness. As a result, you may find you develop healthy habits and are less likely to encounter physical health problems.
Nature should be used as just one part of a holistic approach to healing. Sometimes you need to rest up in bed, but don’t be afraid of a little exercise either. It will boost your mood and immune system, helping you to overcome illness. There are both physiological and psychological benefits of simply being in the great outdoors to help you heal more quickly.