You might have heard about how protecting the environment benefits society and earth, but what if it also benefits you? It’s possible that one of the most profound mindshifts in recent history – rivaling the ones that established human rights and the Copernican, Darwinian, and social movements that ushered in gender equality and multiculturalism – is the recognition that nature holds the key to our well-being. Whether you’re strolling a city park or scuba diving at Bikini Atoll, nature has the power to make you feel refreshed and connected.
While research has largely focused on green spaces like parks and forests, researchers are now fine-tuning the ways in which blue spaces (such as rivers and oceans) produce similar effects. This new approach to health and well-being, called ecopsychology, is reorienting our understanding of the human-nature relationship. It’s based on the idea that humans have always lived within, been part of, and learned from nature. This shift in perspective allows us to reclaim a sense of the natural world as an invaluable source of restorative, healing and rejuvenating qualities that nurture our souls and our psyches. It’s not just a feeling – it’s an actual scientific fact that being in nature improves our mood, reduces stress, and makes us more creative.
And that’s why more people are starting to understand that a holistic view of wellness includes nature as much as work, hobbies and other aspects of life. What can you do to incorporate nature into your daily life? Start by eating a balanced diet that includes nutrient-rich foods. You can find a lot of the ingredients in your grocery store, including energy fruits (like avocados, bananas and strawberries) and dark leafy greens. You can also look for superfoods, like goji berries and spirulina, in the supplement aisle or add them to your smoothies to get an extra dose of vitamins and minerals.
Another way to get more nature is to make it a priority, both as time away from work and in your everyday routine. Consider biking to work or scheduling a low-pressure meeting at a local park. You might even try taking a walk on your lunch break or going to a local beach. Getting more of these powerful, restorative experiences in your life can give you the boost of vitality and vigor you need to be more effective both at home and at work.