Stress is a part of the American culture. Technology, traffic, hectic schedules and work are stressors that are a part of American’s daily lives. Long-term stress leads to illness and disease as well as energy depletion. Stressed out individuals who head outdoors are able to escape daily stress and restore minds through getting in touch with nature. From skiing to hiking to photographing, these individuals are able to find play into their day, and realize that there is more to life than work and responsibilities.
Many outdoor pursuits are cardiovascular movements. Exercise is known to alleviate stress and anxiety due to the increase blood flow to the brain, release of hormones and stimulation for the nervous system. Also, many individuals expel negative emotions and frustration through human movement. Much research has been done about exercise and stress, and although there is no one positive result; it is common to find that there is a psychological lift to elevate mood and energy.
Another way to beat stress is through the senses. There must be a reason why white sand beaches and jagged mountain peaks are commonly found on desktop screens and calendars. In today’s modern world, our senses are constantly stimulated. Pristine, natural environments, fresh clean air and pleasant natural sounds are pleasing to the senses.
In addition, spending time outdoors in untouched environments is spiritual on many levels. For some people, the mountains is their church, or others feel they connect to a higher power to understand that life and land was created before humans. People who connect spiritually with a belief often maintain and handle stress appropriately to know that life works its’ way out.
Stressed individuals are disconnected, and when connected with scenery or environment that is the gateway to a healthier mind and body. Also, anxious humans are disconnected from their breath and take light and shallow inhalations and exhalations. When outdoors, in fresh air, humans usually take long, deep and slow breaths. “Taking a breath of fresh air,” brings more oxygen to the brain and blood to enhance mental well-being. Breathing is one of the easiest and most important ways to stay balance.
Finally, another reason why outdoor pursuits alleviate stress is because nature is fun, especially fun with friends and family. If asked to choose to hike a trail or sit behind a desk, the majority of individuals would choose the trail because it is enjoyable and stimulating to the mind and body. The brain remembers fun, enjoyable experiences and happy memories want to be repeated.
There is something magical and wonderful for everyone on why the outdoors beats his or her stress. Whether you head to your backyard or a national park, just know that nature is there for you when times get rough. Best of all, the birds or squirrels won’t be nagging you about your deadlines, but maybe sing you “A Welcome to my Habitat,” song.