Take a Walk in the Park


A new study has claimed to prove what many of our ancestors have known for generations. If you stroll or sit or exercise in a place that connects you with nature, you will lower your levels of stress in an important way. Some healthcare professionals are referring to it as The Nature Pill.

Wander in the wilderness, hug a tree, stroll thru a meadow, let the sand rise between your toes on a beach, watch a sunset. These are all restoratives proving that old adage: ‘Nature Heals‘. The sounds of a babbling brook or wild bird song have now officially been shown to reduce anxieties and stress. It’s called Eco-Therapy or, as the Japanese have named it--Forest Bathing.

There is little question that these nature exercises will get creative juices flowing, as well. The great outdoors will boost your inner feelings and it doesn’t have to occur in a far-away place, just a walk in a park will do it. Ask any golfer. Nature does heal.

We have sadly become too hitched to flashing gadgets, TVs, hand-held phones, computers and video games. The honking horns, urbanization and indoor lifestyles have made us forget how nature really can nourish. Such stresses as work, love, money and family problems have heightened our collective blood pressures and heart rates and mental tension can cause anxiety and depression. Such great Naturalists as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Muir, long ago preached that a disconnect with nature can be deadly. Humans crave a nature- connection.

And now, new tests in a strong body of research, confirm that direct contact with nature, increases mental health and psychological development. The bad guy here is Cortisol, also known as the Stress Hormone. Cortisol is secreted by our adrenal glands and is released into the bloodstream, as a fight or flight response to stress. Our levels of Cortisol rise and fall throughout the day but are especially high during periods of chronic stress.

While communing with nature is not a cure-all or overall panacea, such green time has now been clinically shown to lower those stress hormones, improve your quality of life and combat depression. Nature does indeed impact moods, the tests have shown.

So, friends, nature makes us feel more alive, gives us energy and relieves stress. Unplug yourself from that everyday humdrum and meander a meadow, get near water or forest, experience that clean air. It’s pollution-free, so inhale it deeply. Stroll or sit in a place that’s calm and quiet. Head for the hills and hit the trails. The positive benefits of just being outdoors are wonderful, especially if you’re feeling a bit frayed. And remember, just a walk in the park will help, but 20 minutes at a time, 3 times a week would be better. And guess what, it’s free healthcare.