We are told that it is good for us to spend time outside – in a park, by the sea, in a woodland, in your back garden, it doesn’t matter where it is, it’s just good to be outside. But why should we do this, and are there any real, noticeable benefits from doing so?
The answer is yes. A study published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal tested the effects that spending time in nature had on the levels of chemicals in the body associated with stress.
The researchers recruited 36 people who lived in cities, and asked them to spend time in an outdoor space that involved interacting with nature three times a week for at least 10 minutes, for a total of eight weeks. They were free to choose when and where this happened. Four times during the study, the subjects gave samples of their saliva before and after time spent in nature.
They found that the levels of cortisol in the participants' saliva dropped on average by 21.3 percent per hour after spending time in nature. The effect was most pronounced for when in nature for between 20 to 30 minutes. Activity didn't seem to make a difference to cortisol levels. A 28 percent per hour drop in the alpha-amylase enzyme was also noted in those who were least active and sat down, or did a little walking.
So, just 30 minutes a day spent in nature will yield a dramatic drop in chemicals associated with stress. In fast-paced, 21st century modern life, when most are part of the rat race, we all need to find ways to minimise stress, and so spending time in nature could actually help you improve in many different areas of your life.
As a company we believe in creating a happy and comfortable working environment. We also believe that we should bond as a team in order to work well together, and enjoy our time at work each day. As part of our summer strategy meeting, we had an offsite afternoon and went to the beautiful Kew gardens in London. These Royal Botanic Gardens are home to thousands of different plant species, open spaces and the famous Victorian glasshouses – filled with interesting and exotic
This evening allowed us to spend time together in nature, outside of our north London office, whilst discussing our upcoming plans and projects. We shared ideas, ate a delicious home cooked meal, and spent time exploring the beauty that nature has to offer.
So, if next time you are feeling weighed down by the stresses and pressures of everyday life, try taking some time out to appreciate nature, and begin to find those issues just melt away.
Daisy from Supreme Creations.