Our easy accessibility to nature in North Idaho has a positive impact on us that we might not be aware of. Research has shown that adults who live in neighborhoods with more green space show better attention functioning than those who have less access to the natural environment. Studies have found that natural landscapes help improve working memory, cognitive flexibility and attentional control, while urban settings amid concrete and skyscrapers can have an opposing cognitive effect, leading to attention deficits. Source
“We are so fortunate to live in North Idaho because true beauty and nature are right outside our door,” says Gina Beck, Director of behavioral health at Kaniksu Community Health. “Getting outside has all sorts of health benefits, that can be healing to both the body and mind.”
Scientists have studied the neurological effects of being in nature and the ways it helps us feel more at ease and attuned to the present moment. In an episode on the Mindbodygreen Podcast, Neuroscientist Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D., explains that the earth has a frequency of about 7.8 Hertz caused by electromagnetic resonances in the earth’s atmosphere. This frequency has been shown to soothe the body. Standing barefoot on the earth can even decrease inflammation and reduce cardiovascular risk. The natural world provides a reprieve from anxiety caused by technology, daily routines, and current events. Source
“Based on the stressful social climate we find ourselves in, getting outdoors is important now more than ever,” Gina says. “If you have a break to step away from your electronic device or have some time to step outside. Do it! Taking advantage of these opportunities will give you a positive outcome for your personal wellbeing.”
Studies have shown that nature can have healing powers - such as improving mood, cognitive productivity, boosting immune system and increasing anti-cancer proteins. For example, an Australian study had two groups of students work on a dull, attention-draining task. Students who looked at a green roof full of flowers for 40 seconds midway through the task made significantly less mistakes than those students who looked at a concrete floor for 40 seconds. (Lee, K.E., et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2015). source
3 ways that nature can improve your health and overall well-being:
Being out during the frigid winter months in North Idaho might be unappealing to some, but even a small amount of time in fresh air can help maintain our mental health during dark and dreary days. Incorporating mindfulness practices by engaging all five senses while taking a moment outdoors or going for a brief walk around the neighborhood are options if a lengthier outdoor excursion is not possible.
In the fast-paced technological world we live in today, it is important to remember the value of our natural environment and how it supports our wellbeing.
So, the next time you are late to a meeting let them know that your doctor told you to get outside!