Whether you are a faithful visitor to this page, or this is your first time reading one of our blogs, one thing you’ll find is that we’re all about helping people to live a healthy, balanced, and happy life. Life is far too short, and far too precious, to spend it being miserable.
But let’s be honest, happiness isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve. It takes work, and a willingness to try different things.
We all go through difficulties in life—it’s a given—but we also need to recognize that staying in negative mindsets for an extended period of time is not good for us. When we find ourselves in the hole of negativity or depression, we must find ways to pull ourselves up and out, and get back on track.
One great way to do that is literally just outside your door.
Several science-based studies have recently been conducted by a group called Happify.com. Their studies found that people who spend time outdoors, in green or natural environments, and who feel connected to nature, are generally happier than those who spend their time indoors.
They also found that it doesn’t take long to feel the impact of nature on our moods. Being outside for as little as 20 minutes makes people feel more alive. It doesn’t matter if you’re running, jogging, or just sitting on a park bench. The simple act of being outdoors is enough to change your mood. Who doesn’t love the feeling of the soft, green grass under our bare feet, or lying in the grass looking up at the clouds? It’s a great way to clear our minds. Remember, that physical activity also creates benefits that help us slide up on the Happy Meter too, so some exercise or activity isn’t a bad idea.
The Happify.com study found that adding exercise in nature can improve your mental health in as little as 5 minutes. Five minutes!! (Who doesn’t have 5 minutes to get happy?) The studies also found that as we observe the beauty of nature, our bodies produce lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which means we are automatically in a healthier state—just from light activity, outdoors.
The most eye-opening study revealed that those who walk in nature, or hike in the woods, reduced depression in 71% of all participants, while those who walked indoors (in a mall, for instance) only reduced depression in 45% of participants, and actually increased depression in 22% of them. And these studies weren’t only true for adults, but kids too.
Now that our Wisconsin weather is finally warming up, isn’t it time we started getting out there and improving our health and happiness? Ditch the treadmill and head outside for a walk. Do some yoga or stretches along the beach. Hit the bike trail with the kids, or rollerblade around the nearest park. Get outside, and put yourself on a (scientifically researched and proven) path to happiness.