When kids are misbehaving there is a saying that goes "add sun or water." Either take them outside, or put them in water (that includes the bath or sprinklers!) to calm down their little revved up nervous systems. But we would argue adults aren't that different from kids and we also greatly benefit from adding sun or water to most of our days. We hope that this holiday weekend, you spend a chunk of time OUTSIDE. Why? Because the health benefits of the outdoors are never ending. Here are some of our favorite ways to reap the benefits of nature.
1/ Take a forest bath.
In Japanese it is known as shinrin-yoku, but forest bathing or “taking in the forest atmosphere" is prescribed to people in Japan to off-set the inevitable tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to connect with and thus protect their country's forests. Forest bathing is proven to lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of harmful hormones — like cortisol, which your body produces when it is stressed. So go find some trees and hug them.
2/ Get some Vitamin D exposure.
Vitamin D is a hormone and is produced by your skin as a result of sunlight exposure. Yes, you can overdo that exposure and put yourself in harm's way, but if exposed in limited quantities in the morning and afternoon, you will experience the mood boosting effects of vitamin D.
3/ Take a walk.
Yep, just a walk. The benefits of the simple practice of a daily walk are endless. The act of walking improves your circulation, sleep, daily breath, and even lightens your mood by releasing endorphins. When stressed, we always walk it out.
4/ Get barefoot in grass.
When is the last time you ran around barefoot outside? Not on a concrete patio, but truly got your feet in grass or dirt? You might also hear this referred to as grounding (or even earthing) but the concept behind it is that humans evolved with constant contact to Earth’s subtle electric charge, and now we rarely come in contact with it thanks to our modern lifestyles. Plug your feet into the natural charge of the earth for an afternoon and let us know how you sleep that night -- we think it might be quite well :)
5/ Cultivate a blue mind.
The neurological, psychological and emotional changes our brains experience when we are close to water are never ending. We have all be caught paralyzed, staring at a large body of water in a trance-like state. And that zen moment is good for reducing our blood pressure, lowering stress hormones, and boosting our mental health.
Need we say it again, get outdoors!