Advertisers that want us to relate positively to their product rely heavily on outdoor images such as lying in a hammock under a tree, standing on a shoreline or gazing at the scenery from a mountain. They use these images because we perceive them as happy, relaxing and nostalgic times. These are the same types of images used in hypnosis and other methods for relaxation and even pain management. These images are very effective because spending time in the out of doors makes us happy. It turns out it can also make us significantly healthier.
Some of us seek out natural spaces and wild living things to soothe our soul while some of us have no interest in what’s going on outside of our windows. In all cases however, we would do well to make sure we spend more time in the green out of doors. Study after study reinforces the notion that being in nature is a natural stress reliever. It clears the head leading to clearer more productive thinking, and walking outside may even prevent cancers.
Consequently, a lack of exposure to nature can be detrimental to our psyche. Research documented last fall in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health says living near a green space reduces the percentage of people experiencing negative mental health symptoms, as well as other medical and physical complaints . A study last fall in the Lancet indicated people living near green spaces, or a “green oasis” as some refer to green open spaces such as parks, are less likely to develop certain negative health conditions.
A more recent analysis of 10 different studies found improvements in mood and self esteem when one spent just five minutes exercising outdoors. The improvements were most significant for younger people and people struggling with mental illness and, not surprisingly, were compounded if there was also water in the area.
Based on these studies as well as anecdotal experiences, spending time regularly in a green space each week can reduce your tendency toward everything from depression to cancer. So here’s something enjoyable to add to your health arsenal -- spending time outdoors.
NaturalJersey.com was created in order to have a place on the web where we can all share the great green & natural health resources in NJ. I hope you find it a never ending resource when you're looking for health-minded local businesses.