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In nature

DAN CEARNS The Standard

Recent information is backing up what I’ve written about before in this column, getting out in nature has immense benefits for everyone.

In a recently released fact sheet, the Canadian Psychological Association has found, spending up to 10 minutes in nature has the ability to “boost attention, reduce feelings of stress and improve your mood.”

In addition, “Two hours per week has been linked to better health and well-being and 20 minutes at a time is ideal for reducing stress hormones in the body,” the fact sheet added.

Personally, I’ve always felt calmer when I take time outside. The sounds of birds chirping, the smell of flowers and freshly cut grass, and feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin can all help take you away from focusing on a stressful work project or personal issues you’re dealing with.

The fact sheet I referenced suggests, exposure to nature helps people to form a greater connection with their environment, which, in turn, means, “they often take better care of it, by engaging in more environmentally friendly ways.”

In this digital age, it’s easy to get bogged down by what is going on across the world. We have access to news around the world, and with that comes information on a lot of issues, conflicts and war. Not to mention, social media has some negative aspects, as it provides platforms for division through easily accessed conversations you may avoid face to face. Unplugging and getting out in nature helps one escape that for a moment. It provides redirection from everything going on, offering one an opportunity to feel refreshed.

Sometimes when I feel like I’m stuck, trying to get words flowing in my stories or columns, I’ll take a walk outside, and I’ve found it has helped to get new ideas forming in my head.

According to a post by Ontario Parks, being out in nature has been linked to reduced negative emotions, such as: “symptoms of anxiety; depression; and psychosomatic illnesses, like irritability, insomnia, tension headaches, and indigestion.”

Not to mention, it was only a few years ago, we were all stuck in our homes because of a worldwide pandemic.

So, with the warmer weather here now, I encourage people to take some time outside. Maybe explore a forest, take a walk in your neighbourhood or visit a conservation area. You could also just simply wander around in or sit in your yard at home. Yet in all this, be sure to dress for, and use Deet as, protection against ticks and other bug bites. It will do you some good to simply get outside.

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