Human well-being depends on nature and its benefits, which are free and accessible every day, everywhere. Think about walking in a beautiful park, strolling barefoot on a sandy beach, planting a summer garden, or dashing in the rain to seek cover. Connecting to nature’s elements brings us joy, comfort, and good health.

Benefits of Being in Nature

The outdoors can offer relief from negativity and more. Here are a few good reasons to connect with nature:

It can lower depression and perceived stress. A large-scale study found that individuals who walked at least once a week in a natural outdoor environment (versus an urban walk) reduced depression and anxiety and significantly enhanced well-being. This is a great reason to take a walk during lunch or after work for a mood boost.

It may improve your mental health. According to a large study, there is a synergy between the psychological benefits of physical activity and the therapeutic effects of being connected to a natural environment; physical activity in nature produces better mental health benefits.

It can strengthen immunity. Researchers at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo found that women who spent six hours in the woods over two days had an increase in virus- and tumor-fighting white blood cells; the effect lasted for seven days. Several similar studies showed the benefit of “forest bathing” on human health, including its ability to lower cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Our modern world is abundant with new technology and urban living and is somewhat disconnected from nature. Think about how many hours you spend in front of your computer or on your cell phone. Direct contact with the planet’s surface, known as “earthing” or “grounding,” has potent and rapid anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Earthing has many beneficial effects on the human system, so connecting with nature daily is essential as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Tips to Connect with Nature

  1. Take a walk outdoors in a non-urban area (e.g., a park, a beach, a wooded hiking trail, or a lakefront). Enjoy the smells of nature, and be sure to touch water, dirt, sand, or rocks.
  2. Find a patch of grass and walk barefoot. This is a common practice at Sanoviv, where daily earthing is integral to the day. Be sure the grass where you walk or sit has not been treated with pesticides.
  3. Build a sandbox under your desk, especially if you spend many hours working on your computer. A small mat with edges filled with smooth rocks can help with indoor grounding. This works well during cold weather.
  4. Consider making a bathmat with smooth river rocks. Every day, when you step out of your shower and onto an earth-friendly bathmat, you’ll be grounding.
  5. Get out in the backyard. Whether pulling weeds by hand or harvesting this summer’s vegetables, getting your hands dirty is a great way to support your health. While you are at it, make some mud pies with the kids!
  6. Take off your shoes more frequently. This will allow you to connect with nature’s elements, including a marble or wood floor.

Enjoy the summer and what nature has to offer. Could this be why we all feel and look so much better in the Spring and Summer?