During a study to find the difference between stress levels in the city and countryside, researchers found that people in urban environments suffered more. In fact, 21% were more likely to have anxiety disorders and a 39% increase in mood disorders. Through another study, stress researchers found that viewing beauty in nature can help to lower the levels of stress. So, how can beauty and nature help a stressed-out mind?
How nature can help to relieve stress
In many studies, nature has shown to improve stress and anxiety symptoms. Nature gives people the chance to slow down. You can soothe a stressed-out mind by taking in the beautiful surroundings. Ultimately nature can enable valuable reflection with restorative properties to allow you to make better decisions.
Studies have shown that two-thirds of people choose to retreat to a natural setting when they feel stressed. In another study, participants perform 50% better in creative problem solving after three days backpacking.
What’s important is that it does not matter how much time you spend outdoors. You can still feel the benefits of the beautiful natural surroundings for just a few minutes in nature. A study by Mind found that for 95% of people, their mood improved after spending time outside. As nature can help us from stressed and depressed to calm, centred and balanced, it is worth prioritising some time outdoors.
We know that getting outdoors and admiring beauty in nature can help us to improve stress levels but what can you do when to help lower stress when you live in a city?
Five ways to use nature to lower stress levels in a congested city
Nature sounds can have a restorative effect on us. If you do not have green spaces nearby, then calming nature sounds audio can help. You can use it to relax in the evening or put it on when you cannot get away from your desk. Nature sounds have been known to improve the quality of sleep, but make sure you find the right nature sounds that you enjoy.
While listening to nature sounds, try to add breathing techniques to your routine to help centre yourself.
Use the scents of nature
There are many smells in nature that can help to keep us calm and balanced. Therefore, soothing fragrances such as chamomile and lavender can bring great comfort. In fact, lavender can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, it can help you to relax and sleep.
Try popping a lavender plant in a window box or garden. Alternatively, use aromatherapy oils to get your nature fix.
Find your nearest park
Even if you do not have much time, a quick walk in the park can do wonders for your stress. Try to walk to your closest park on your lunch break. In summer, take off your shoes to enjoy the feel or nature beneath your feet. In winter, a local botanical garden can be ideal for you to marvel at the beauty of nature.
You can also use the time in the park to escape from reality and try meditation.
Get nature to come to you
Wherever you live, you can encourage nature to come to you. By planting wildflowers in a window box, an attached a bird feeder you can attract birds, bees and butterflies to your window. This will be ideal for admiring when you cannot reach a green space.
Take a day trip
Plan a weekend visit to the countryside. Book into a place that is quiet, restful and has nature trails close by so you can get back to nature and feel refreshed for the week ahead. Furthermore, if possible head to a forest destination, a 15-minute walk in woodland is known to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. It also lowers blood pressure and, consequently, your heart rate.
Reducing your stress levels
With stress can have many adverse effects on our mind and body, it is important to reduce your stress levels as much as possible. If you are struggling with stress, then hypnosis can help. Book an appointment online with Malminder today to find the solution to control and lower your stress levels.
Benedictus, L. (2018). Sick cities: why urban living can be bad for your mental health. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/feb/25/city-stress-mental-health-rural-kind [Accessed 13 Jan. 2018].
Healing Gardens. [online] Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Healing_Gardens.html?id=YRY1WejQok8C [Accessed 13 Jan. 2018].
Health.com. (2018). Pamper Yourself! 8 Natural Stress Relievers. [online] Available at: http://www.health.com/mind-body/pamper-yourself-8-natural-stress-relievers [Accessed 13 Jan. 2018].
Health.com. (2018). Why Nature Sounds Help You Relax, According to Science. [online] Available at: http://www.health.com/stress/why-nature-sounds-are-relaxing [Accessed 13 Jan. 2018]
Mind Organization. (2007). Ecotherapy: The green agenda for mental health. UK: Mind Publications.
Nationalgeographic.com. (2018). This Is Your Brain on Nature. [online] Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/01/call-to-wild/ [Accessed 13 Jan. 2018].
Ohe, Y., Ikei, H., Song, C. and Miyazaki, Y. (2018). Evaluating the relaxation effects of emerging forest-therapy tourism: A multidisciplinary approach.
Psychology Today. (2018). A Surprising Way to Deal with Stress. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-personal-renaissance/201710/surprising-way-deal-stress [Accessed 13 Jan. 2018].