Vivek Raj, a Mumbai-based entertainment media professional, remembers feeling drained, emotionally exhausted and demotivated at work. “I was extremely anxious, tired and honestly, bored with life. While routine is good, regular city life's toll on one’s mental health is immense."
Then he decided to go away on a brief holiday: a two-week-long hike. “It was just so refreshing and rejuvenating! I realised how much the daily rut of city life takes out of us and how I missed feeling grounded and one with nature," recalls Raj, admitting that those two weeks of hiking and trekking allowed him to decompress and self-reflect. “If people can make spending time in nature a part of their lifestyle, they must, there’s no other medicine like it," he says.
A lot of us would resonate with him. Being outdoors, amidst trees, chirping birds or beside a deep blue sea can calm your mind like nothing else. Here are 5 ways how being one with nature can make you healthier and happier.
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1. Helps stop overthinking
Some people tend to overthink, exacerbating stress and irritability. Escaping into nature helps one stay mindful of the present, leaving no space and time for rumination. Furthermore, being outside in natural light helps manage mental health better.
2. Instils a sense of tranquillity:
Nature is known to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which has a significant impact on blood pressure, sugar levels, energy etc. Managing cortisol levels will lead to better sleep, immunity and energy levels.
3. Improves physical health
Walking in natural surroundings improves immunity, reduces hypertension, and improves muscular strength. Nature walks also improve sleep quality, lung capacity, reduce low-density lipoproteins, and control sugar. And yes, it may also help you burn a few calories and get fitter.
4. Stimulates one’s senses
Being in nature stimulates the senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch. This, in turn, aids mental peace, boosting mood and memory.
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5. Clears mental congestion
The result of limited access to nature was especially apparent during covid when people, who were confined indoors, found themselves dealing with mental blocks. Inhabiting green spaces play a huge role in clearing your mind and triggering creativity.
(Inputs by Dr Harini Atturu, Consultant Psychiatrist, CARE Hospital Hitech City, Hyderabad; Zahabiya Bambora, Psychologist & EAP Coordination Manager; Dr Parul Tank, Consultant-Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital Mulund)