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The Benefits of Time In Nature: Unlock Your Why for Sustainable Living

Sustainable Living: What’s Your “Why”?

Have you ever had the experience of forgetting how much you love something until you’re reminded by experience?

Maybe you love to dance, but you haven’t done it since high school until a friends’ wedding. Or you used to be really consistent with reading new and thought-provoking books, and wandering through a book shop in a new city sparks your commitment again.

Sustainable living can be a lot like that. Our culture isn’t really primed to encourage or prioritise sustainable choices, and it’s easy to forget your why.

 In the next few blog posts, we’re going to be talking about finding your why for sustainable living. 

Today, we’re talking about the benefits of connecting with nature to remind us of the purpose behind sustainable living: to preserve the beauty of the earth.

Let’s dive in!


Disconnection From Nature Is Disconnection From Your Why

One of the most potent purposes behind sustainable living is to preserve nature so that we and the generations to come can reap its benefits.

As urbanisation continues to expand at an unprecedented rate, green spaces are disappearing. Startling statistics reveal that over the past century, approximately 75% of the world's land surface has been altered by human activities, and by 2050, it is projected that 68% of the global population will reside in urban areas. Moreover, studies indicate that urban dwellers have limited access to green spaces, with nearly 1 in 3 city residents lacking access to parks or natural areas within a 10-minute walk from their homes.

Disconnection from nature not only deprives us of essential physical and mental rejuvenation but also disrupts ecosystems, reduces biodiversity, and exacerbates the impacts of climate change.

Disconnection from nature causes us to forget the why behind sustainable living.


Spending Time In Nature Does WHAT?!

In the hustle and bustle of our modern, urban lives, it's easy to forget the incredible power of the natural world around us. It’s such a simple practice, but the benefits can be physical, mental and emotional benefits can be profound. While there are plenty more benefits to spending time in nature, let’s explore some specific ones that are pretty insane!


The Benefits of Nature For Your Body

One of the incredible benefits of spending time in nature is that it directly benefits your body. Research shows that even a short time spent in nature can do two amazing things:

1) De-Stresses Your Body

One of the key indicators of stress in the body is an elevated heartrate, but spending time in nature is one of the ways you can reverse it! This is great news for anyone with high blood pressure, chronic anxiety, or stress. Time in nature brings the heartrate down, sending signals to the body to rest, de-stress and relax. Even something as simple as hearing nature sounds (birds chirping, water flowing) can trigger this incredible physical response.

2) Increases Heartrate Variability

 Heartrate variability is a marker that indicates how responsive your heartrate is. In other words, it measures whether your body can become activated when necessary by things like aerobic exercise or a stressor (high heartrate), and how well your body can then recover from those events, come back to baseline, and relax (low heartrate). Low heartrate variability is viewed as a sign of current or future health problems, and is often present alongside conditions like diabetes, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, and asthma.

High heartrate variability is a positive marker of health that indicates resilience, and studies show that time spent in nature increases heartrate variability.

3) Boosts Overall Physical Wellbeing

 Grounding is the practice of spending time barefoot in nature. Modern city-dwellers spend very little time in nature, let alone barefoot in nature, but it’s an easy hack to boost overall wellbeing! Just a few minutes of grounding per day can improve sleep, normalise your day–night cortisol (stress hormone) rhythm, reduce pain, reduce stress, shift the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic activation (aka: more relaxation), increase heart rate variability, and speed wound healing.

To supercharge the benefits of nature for your body, try combining it with physical activity like a walk, run or outdoor gym session!


The Benefits of Nature for Your Mind

 1) Improves Memory, Concentration and Creativity

Research indicates that natural environments have cognitive benefits. Compared to urban environments, individuals in greener spaces display increased attention, and better working memory. Research guess that this could either be because we evolved to be function optimally in natural environments, or because stress impairs cognition, and nature reduces stress (thereby benefitting cognition).

Time in nature can also increase organic creativity by providing the brain with white space. White space is time spent away from screens, music, and other sensory stimulation, and it frees up creative thought in the mind. Connecting with the beauty, colours, sights and sounds of nature also inspires creativity.

2) Boosts Happiness

 In one study on time in nature, 95% of participants reported that their mood was improved by spending time outside. This is likely due to the physiological benefits of spending time in nature, which then cause psychological benefits too. Research also shows that seeing the colour green causes positive emotions to be strengthened while negative emotions are weakened.


Connect With Nature to Remember Your Why

The earth gives to us in so many ways, including supporting our physical, mental and emotional health. Eco-friendly living is a way we can give back, because when the earth suffers, we suffer too. 

The beauty of the earth is all around. Today, go for a walk and really look at the grass, the trees, the sky. Walk past a flower market and notice the colours. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, the touch of the breeze.

When we connect with nature, we remember our power to make conscious choices that support its preservation.

After all, the earth is our home. Let’s protect it.


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Thank you for reading! If you found this blog post informative and inspiring, share it with your friends and spread the message of sustainability.