Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

It’s Official: Spending Time Surrounded by Nature Reduces Stress

It’s Official: Spending Time Surrounded by Nature Reduces Stress 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

We’ve done this for all our lives—when we feel too stressed, we take a break in nature. We even spent our own money, time, and energy on restoring a creek near our home by eliminating waste and invasive species. We invite our clients, students, friends, and neighbors to take a stroll on our “Nature Trail”. Why? Because we know it’s centering, calming, and just plain beneficial for your outlook on life.

But we never had real evidence that nature reduces stress—till now! A study published in Frontiers in Psychology by the University of Michigan has confirmed that a “Nature Pill”, AKA time spent in nature, actually encourages our brains to reduce cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone.

In the study, a group of adults was asked to spend at least 10 minutes surrounded by nature three times a week for eight months. Every other week, the scientists observed cortisol levels in saliva samples to determine how nature experiences affected them.

The study’s lead author, Mary Carol Hunter, said, “[The] participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of the nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that, in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature.” The participants were also asked to avoid social media, conversations, reading, and phone calls while taking their “nature pill”—any factor that could possibly influence stress. To put it simply, just be present in nature for only 10 minutes!

Our business cards refer to us as “Advisors, Speakers, and Hikers”. We spend as much time as we possibly can in nature. As we hike, we see other people on the trails, but not really being present in nature. They’re texting, talking, or completely engrossed in their smartphones instead of appreciating the beautiful surroundings. We really appreciated that the Michigan team eliminated this clear source of stress from their research.

Hunter also said, “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.” She further adds, “This will allow customized nature pill prescriptions, as well as a deeper insight on how to design cities and wellbeing programs for the public.”

We love the concept of “taking a nature pill”. Think about how many stress-reducing pharmaceutical prescriptions could be eliminated. Maybe we should put our smartphones down for a little bit each day, let Mother Nature do her magic, and reacquaint ourselves with our natural roots on our wonderful planet.

This is only one (scientifically-proven) reason to preserve our environment and make nature a part of our daily lives once again. We’ll see you on the trail—without your smartphone!

For more, read on: http://c-suitenetworkadvisors.com/advisor/michael-houlihan-and-bonnie-harvey/