How Being Around Nature Can Improve Your Business (and your health)

the science behind why we crave time outdoors

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You want to be more productive, healthier and happier? Then you need to spend more time with nature. Interacting with nature gives your brain a break for the constant stimuli which can have a restorative effect on your attention levels.

Benefits of Being Around Water:

Children love swimming and taking baths. Some of our best ideas come to us in the shower. Just having a fountain or a plant on our desk can be soothing. But why is this? Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. We now have studies that prove we need to not only consume water daily but immersion in water reduces stress, partly by balancing the flux between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and counter acts the constant stimulus of stress Blue Mind a book by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols draws a scientific connection between ocean or lakes and our health and happiness. In his book Nichols states “it’s clear that water can help us access the state called “flow,” where we connect to the default mode network, or daydreaming parts of our brain. This can restore our ability to focus and perform cognitive and creative tasks with greater ease.” [Blue Mind is in contrast to “Red Mind,” which neuroscientist Catherine Franssen, PhD, describes as an “edgy high, characterized by stress, anxiety, fear, and maybe even a little bit of anger and despair.”] Have you ever noticed how much better you feel when you put your feet in the pool? Listen to the river or a fountain or even have a big drink of water? How can you add more “water” exposure into your daily life?

Benefits of Being Around Trees & Plants:

Forest and tress have similar benefit of water. Don’t believe me? The Japanese government values the practice of “forest bathing” (just being in the presence of trees), so much that is it’s included in their healthcare budget. The Japanese discovered that just being around trees lowers your cortisol (stress hormone), pulse rate, blood pressure after 30-minutes among trees. Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School found that women who spent six hours in the woods over the course of two days had an increase in virus- and tumor-fighting white blood cells, and the boost lasted at least seven days afterwards. Even a plant on your desk can increase your productivity by 50%. A 2014 study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that people who went on outdoor walks came up with more novel, imaginative analogies than people who walked on treadmills. Next time you have a team meeting, try and take it outdoors-the more trees the better! How are you going to bring more nature into your life this week? 

Write to me and tell me about a time water, trees and nature influenced your life. Did you come up with a great idea? I want to hear about it. Email me your stories at [email protected]

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