The Natural Medicine of Nature
Take 3 doses of trees, 2 hikes and 1 ounce of meditation per week — your favorite MD
Over the past 200 hundred years humanity has started spending less and less time in the outdoors, and it has affected our mental and physical health. The millennial generation –this is what I fall into, is the most depressed and anxious generation we have seen so far, we actually have earned the nickname, “Generation Stress”. You can read more about who is stressed and why from the American Psychological Association.
Stress is mental but it can lead to physical problems and conditions in the body so much that 75–90% of doctor visits are actually stress related or PREVENTABLE and only about 25% or less of doctor visits are from pre-existing conditions.
There are many reasons as to what causes stress, money, career, family, and health are the top four. Luckily there is something we can do besides getting a script to get healthy and happy again.
Go outside, get dirty, be wild.
In Japan this form of nature as medicine has been used since the 1980s, it is called, Shinrin Yoku — which literally translates as, Forest Bathing. Shinrin Yoku has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve mood, reduce blood pressure, even increase immunity levels, and so much more. You don’t have to live in Japan to experience the benefits of the healing components of nature though.
Here are just a few benefits of going outside.
Trees give off oxygen and absorb harmful gasses such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. A study from the University of Chicago showed that trees reduced stress in neighborhoods because of the green environment. Hospitals are now adding photos of the outdoors as well as more windows because it has been proven to quicken the healing process. Check out this inspiring story of a chemo patient who saw a photo of the Grand Tetons and made it his mission to hike the 13,000 ft. mountains.
When you are outside, you are moving your body, AKA not sitting at home binge watching Netflix or getting sucked into cat videos on Facebook (guilty as charged with both of these). Exercise as we know is not only good for us physically but also mentally. Even exercising outside has more benefits than doing it in a gym, like increased levels of self esteem, mood, and energy levels just to name a few.
3. Increased overall health and wellness
By taking more time to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself through nature you are able to become more fully present and therefore become more in touch with your own mind, body and spirit.
Of course going outside shouldn’t be a replacement for seeing your regular physician, always consult your doctor with any health related questions or concerns. Exposing yourself to more time outside might be something that works for you, it has for me and many others who have been part of our adventure retreats.