How Getting Outside Can Boost Your Mental Health
We all know that exploring the great outdoors is fantastic for our all round health, but so often we don’t take the opportunity to go outside. Busy and stressful lifestyle can get in the way, and we may feel like we don’t have enough time to go outside, but even a few minutes can make a world of difference.
Getting outside is excellent for your mental health in a variety of ways. It’s surprising how a gentle stroll surrounded by nature can give you a completely new perspective. Sometimes it’s simply the change of scenery that helps. Here are some reasons why getting outside is beneficial for the mind as well as the body.
According to Public Health England, adults and children over the age of one should have 10 micro-grams (mcg) of vitamin D every day. Roughly one in five people has low vitamin D levels. Getting outside in the sunlight will give you a much needed vitamin D boost.
You might be wondering what the health benefits of Vitamin D are, well, this vitamin is connected to your mood, and if you’re lacking in it, your mood may be affected. A study in the Netherlands found that low levels of vitamin D correlated with symptoms of major and minor depression in 169 individuals ages 65 or older.
There’s a reason why people relate sunshine to happiness, because a few rays of sun on our skin can really improve your mood. So, if you look outside and the sun is shining, pop out for a bit to soak up some rays (but make sure you protect your skin with sunscreen and don’t stay out in it too long).
A fresh perspective
There’s literally nothing than a healthy dose of fresh air. Sometimes simply feeling a gust of wind on your cheeks can help awaken your senses and open your mind. Being cooped up inside an office or house all day doesn’t do anybody any favours. Fresh air helps to send plenty of oxygen through the blood and allows your lungs to work at full capacity. Plus, oxygen to your brain = more brain power.
So, if you know you have to be inside for most of the day, at least make time to take short breaks where you can pop outside for a breath of fresh air every so often. Your body and mind will thank you for it. Studies show that spending time outdoors actually increases brain power, and children who spend a lot of time outdoors tend to perform better academically.
Did you know that the simple act of looking at the colour green can help you feel better? One study found that look at nature can help your brain work better, and another study found that we associate the colour green with happiness, comfort, hope, excitement, and a sense of peace. So it’s hardly surprising that going outside, especially somewhere with trees/grass/countryside can help boost your mental health/.
And last but not least, going outside is great because it encourages you to exercise, whether that’s going for a run, messing around at the park or simply going for a relaxing stroll. If your body is healthy then the chances are your mental state will improve too. So put on your trainers and head outside to explore your local surroundings.