The New York Times recently published an interesting article on the power of the outdoors. It’s a read I recommend. It turns out that our moms were onto something when they sent us outside to play. The author, Paul Bloom, reminds us that research shows that being outside, or at the very least being able to see the outdoors from our indoor perch, even in limited doses, can improve our health and reduce our stress.
Some of us are lucky enough to live in a place or work at a job that encourages us to be outside, but for many, it’s possible to go from our home to our garage to our car to our workplace with only the briefest of moments where we breathe the outdoor air and spend time out of doors.
Being outside can be rejuvenating. It can relax us. If we spend time in beautiful places it can uplift us. Spending time outdoors, even in the city, can remind us that we are a part of something much bigger and can help us put our own life and our own worries into a different perspective. Being outside, if we let the feeling in, just-plain-feels good.
It doesn’t have to be beautiful and sunny to be outdoors. When was the last time you got wet in the rain or played in the snow or got muddy? When was the last time you dug in the dirt or rolled in the grass or felt sand between your toes? When was the last time you spent time outdoors and felt the sun on your face or wind in your hair or really smelled the air. I’ll bet whenever it was you felt ALIVE.
My tip: try spending some time outdoors everyday. Next time you feel overloaded or overwhelmed or like heading for the vending machine, head outside instead. You might take enough time to enjoy a walk or you might simply make the conscious decision to be outside for a few minutes to experience the weather and the day—and to experience YOURSELF outside. Allow yourself get cold or hot or wet or blown. Breathe it in. Consider going outside to play.
If getting outdoors is a challenge, bring the outdoors into the place where you spend your day—gift yourself with some flowers or a plant or cut some budding branches and put them in a vase. At the very least find a beautiful picture of an outdoor place that makes you smile and put it somewhere where you can see it. Notice the impact.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this tip. Leave a comment and share your favorite outdoor spots and experiences.
Take good care,