A Little Nature is Good For You

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As great as modern living is, don’t forget the great outdoors.

I will be the first, second, and third to sing the praises of modern conveniences. I love my desk, I love my chair, and I love my computer. As much as I love modern living, though, I still make sure to walk around outside at least once a day. Humans are animals, after all; no matter how advanced we get, we shouldn’t forget our natural roots. If that sounds a little too new age-y for you, then it also pays to remember that spending some time in nature is good for you physically as well as emotionally.

A new health trend that’s gained some steam recently is “grounding.” Basically, grounding entails connecting your bare skin with the Earth. Bare feet, hands, back, whatever; just lay down and feel the planet moving beneath you. Some studies have shown that connecting with the ground creates a calming effect in people. Some attribute this to electrons in the ground, though the jury is definitely still out on that. Whatever the reason, walking around the grass in bare feet always feels pretty great. If you’ve got a backyard or something, throw off your shoes and take a quick march around.

In addition to touching the ground, you want to try to soak up some sunlight. Sunlight is a much more well-understood physical need for humans. We crave natural light; it builds up vitamin D, which in turn strengthens our bones and immune systems, and nine times out of ten, if your body’s healthier, your mood will improve. You also want regular sunlight exposure to help you maintain your circadian rhythm. If you go an entire day without seeing sunlight, your internal clock will go completely out of whack. Sun during the day helps your body know when it’s night, which in turn will help you get to sleep.

You don’t have to go on a full nature hike every day. Just take a step outside, and soak up that natural goodness.