Why Does Nature Relieve Stress?
“…in solitude, or in that deserted state when we are surrounded by human beings and yet they sympathize not with us, we love the flowers, the grass, and the waters and the sky. In the motion of the very leaves of spring in the blue air, there is then found a secret correspondence with our heart.”
Shelley, On Love
We all have moments when we feel stressed or even overwhelmed. Whether it's due to work, family, or other obligations, sometimes we struggle to calm down and move forward in a positive way. Thankfully, all we have to do is step outside to clear our minds, gain some perspective, and relax. Spending time in a park or even taking a short walk in the woods can help refresh and reset our nervous systems. And if we're looking for something more active, farming and gardening can give us a sense of accomplishment while also providing relief from stress. There is no denying that nature is a deep sigh for the soul. Here are a few reasons why:
Nature has a restorative effect psychologically
According to a study from the University of Michigan, too much directed attention leads to what environmental psychologists call “directed-attention fatigue.” This state is marked by impulsive behavior, agitation, irritation, and inability to concentrate. The research reveals if you can find an environment where the attention is automatic, you allow directed attention to rest. An environment strong on fascination is ideal, and the fascination factor associated with nature is most restorative. Basically, if you need a brain break, get outside!
Louv, Richard. The Last Child in The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficient Disorder. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 2008.
Exposure to sunlight helps you sleep
Nothing is more stressful than a demanding schedule with little to no sleep at night. A recent article from Real Simple magazine explains that daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Matthew Walker, Ph.D., urges everyone to go outside for at least 30 minutes for their daily fix of natural light. If stress is keeping you awake at night, try a walk outside first thing in the morning to reset your mind, body, and spirit.
Benjamin, Jennifer. Maggie, Seaver. “15 Dos and Don’ts for Better Sleep: Certain things you do at night and all day long can help or harm you when you go to bed.” Real Simple, Special Edition. The Power of Sleep, 2022. 38-42.
Nature boosts your mood
The Real Simple article also emphasizes that being outdoors activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you feel chill. The article also states that natural sounds, such as rain falling or wind rustling leaves, can lower stress, decrease pain, boost your mood and improve cognitive performance.
Karras, Tula. "Wake Up Right! What you do first thing in the morning can prime your brain for success and make you feel energized and happy." Real Simple, Special Edition. The Power of Sleep, 2022. 18.
For all of these reasons and many more, we love what we do at Strawberry Run. We are driven to provide a place where families experience a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. We hope when you visit our farm a restorative sense of calm finds you. Read on for some ways to unplug and enjoy nature here!