Looking for a simple way to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and maybe even improve your memory? Take a walk in the woods, says Harvard Medical School. As we already know, walking...or any type of movement...is good for negative thoughts and emotions. But walking in nature is even better. Walking in nature specifically helps your brain to stop thinking the same negative thoughts over and over again.
Being outdoors lowers blood pressure as well as the stress hormone cortisol. Reducing cortisol helps to calm our body's fight-or-flight response. Nature is also quite beautiful to the mind, providing a pleasant distraction.
It is beneficial to be in nature alone and/or with other people. It does not need to be a solitary activity.
Choose Your Own Adventure
You get to choose! Here are some activities you can do to improve your emotional health.
1. Get outside for at least 20 minutes every other day. Make a log in your SEL journal, including the location of your outing and if you were alone or with other people. Note how you feel before and after your outing each time. See if you can figure out what type of outing helps you feel best.
*Remember to wear a mask, stay outdoors, and stay 6' away from all people not in your household!
2. Bring the outdoors in. If it's hard to get out, there are plenty of benefits to be found from bringing the feeling of nature indoors. Take a few minutes each day to look at beautiful nature photos, and listen to sounds of nature. I have collected some videos below for you to use, or you can find your own. Make a log in your SEL journal. Note how you feel before and after each nature meditation.