want instant happiness? get outside!
4 Ways the Outdoors Makes Us Feel Great.
Get “Nature Related,” Get Happy
Even more than feeling connected to friends or country―important factors for wellness―a sense of “nature relatedness” accurately predicts happiness, research shows. The good news: Becoming “nature related” couldn’t be easier. Or cheaper. Walk the dog. Have a picnic. Plant flowers. No need to become a pioneer. Just cultivate an appreciation for the natural world.
Outside Walks Soothe Negative Thinking
Talk about “happy trails.” According to a Stanford University study, participants who took 90-minute nature walks showed decreased persistent, negative thoughts―and less activity in areas of the brain associated with depression. So take a hike, people!
Nature Workouts Feel Less Like Work
Oh, how our brains love endorphins. But we can’t get them while lounging on the couch. Here’s a trick: Ditch the treadmill for outdoor exercise, where our perception of exertion drops, according to studies. Translation: We’re more likely to stick to a workout plan if it seems less burdensome. Moreover, research on the “green exercise” movement shows that, while exercise anywhere is good, doing so outdoors offers still more benefits, including an uptick in self-esteem and enhanced mood.
Being in Green Unleashes Creativity
Walking increases creativity. A Stanford University study found that outdoor walks increase the imaginative nature of your thoughts. “Nature offers variety,” says Jensen. “It makes sense that it would trigger new and novel ideas.” So lace up. Your million-dollar idea, or latest masterpiece, is just waiting for you to discover it.