The benefits of nature on mental health

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Written By Karen Gee

Hello, I’m sure you’ve heard that spending time in nature benefits mental health. Today I’d like to share with you just three aspects of the mountain of science that back this up.

First is sunlight.

When sunlight hits your skin and also the retina at the back of your eye, this stimulates the production of serotonin. That’s one of our feel good hormones, and that will help to boost your mood and also to wake you up.

Forst Bathing

Second is shinrin-yoku or forest bathing in the 1980s Japanese researchers discovered that spending time in nature suppresses the release of cortisol in the brain. That is the stress hormone, which I’m sure you have become very familiar within the last couple of months. Now, the research on this was so conclusive that the Japanese government actually incorporated forest bathing into the country’s health system.

Finally, soil

If you spend time outside just walking around or digging in the garden, you will inhale something called mycobacterium vaccae. This is a bacteria in the soil. Now what this does is actually two things. First, it stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine, the feel good hormones in our brain. And second, it also suppresses our old friend cortisol. So it has a fantastic double whammy effect. So go and spend some time outside, for the good of your head. Even if you just go for a walk to the local park or just go outside and just stand and look at a tree or look the grass, it really will do some good.