How do you deal with stress? If you opt for exercise, meditation, yoga, or journaling you’re on the right track. But do these activities out in nature, and their stress-lowering benefits go to the next level. In fact, one study found that 15 minutes with nature is proven to have a serious de-stress effect! Whether you try them alone or with friends, here are 5 outdoor activities that are sure to help you unwind.
1. Walking In Nature
It’s no secret that getting daily steps in is good for you. It lowers stress, improves your mood, helps you stay in shape, and makes you more creative. But go outside, and the benefits of walking in natureare multiplied! One study found that walking in greenspaces can actually be meditative, while another study discovered that jogging outdoors makes you 2x as happy as working out in a gym. Bottom line: If you’re dealing with stress, taking a walk around the block, through a park, into the woods, or on a beach can have more of an impact than doing it indoors.
2. Meditating Outside
Speaking of meditating, strolling through the grass or trees isn’t the only way to get your moment of Zen. It can be as simple as stepping outside between classes or meetings, putting your phone away, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breathing. Bonus mood-lifting points if you catch some sunshine while you’re at it!
3. Easy Stretching
If you’re someone who holds stress in your body, chances are it shows up as tension in your neck and shoulders. Sound familiar? Why not try some easy stretches to help relax your muscles while you’re outside meditating? You’ll get some amazing stress relief without having to do a full workout! Here are two of our favorite stretches that you can do anytime, anywhere:
- While standing,roll your shoulders up, back, then down in a fluid motion.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Reverse it, rolling forward, about 10 times.
- Sit down and relax your shoulders down your back.
- Tilt your head to the right, extending your neck instead of bringing your ear to your shoulder.
- Hold for 3 breaths.
- Repeat on the left side.
4. Listening to Nature Sounds
If you’re feeling stressed and just want to chill, you might consider doing it in outside. Why? Simply listening to the sounds of nature can have a major mood-boosting effect! Try sitting and hearing birds chirping, lounging and taking in the sounds of crashing waves, or standing outside with an umbrella and listening to falling rain.
5. Nature Journaling
If you’re looking for another nature-filled idea on how to be stress free, check out nature journaling. Kind of like the typical Dear Diary thing, but instead of just writing down your thoughts and feelings, you just keep track of what you’re seeing, hearing, and smelling. You can do this while sitting in your backyard, perched on your front stoop, or anywhere in the great outdoors. It will help you get out of your head by letting you just be in the moment!
Can’t Get Outside?
You can still be with nature when you can’t be in it! Listening to nature apps or sound machines, looking at photos of outdoor spaces, or surrounding yourself with indoor plants can give you some of the same benefits of being outside in nature! That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to get an instant boost of happy by spending more time with nature, wherever you can get it, and calling it #NatureReset.