Getting some sunlight and enjoying nature is a great way to de-stress and recharge -nature helps us regulate our emotions and our heart. If you can’t get out of the city, go for a walk in a park or by the river. Invite a friend to join you!
We get easily disconnected from nature when we are often so deeply embedded in a human-made world. Emerging research is confirming that exposure to nature helps bring about general health benefits as we discover meaning and joy in our place in nature. We experience three dimensions of emotion: threat, drive and contentment that bring about different feelings (such as anxiety, joy, and calm) and different motivations (avoid, pursue and rest), that release various hormones. We can achieve happiness and satisfaction when we learn to balance threat, drive and contentment. Being immersed in nature activates the parasympathetic nervous system associated with contentment, whereas an urban environment stimulates the sympathetic nervous system associated with drive and threat.
When we cannot get out of the city, we can still improve our nature connection every day, by consciously acknowledging at least three elements of nature in our urban environment. Noticing the song of a bird for example, or watching trees sway in the breeze and enjoying the dance of a butterfly. By sustaining a nature connection we can maintain a healthier heart-mind-body.