Nature can often serve as a very helpful aid in relaxing for a number of reasons. People associate nature with peace and quiet. In fact, Harvard and Frontiers in Psychology magazine have both reported that even a 20 to 30 minute walk through a park or on a hike can lower your stress hormone levels compared to than those going to an urban outdoor location or an indoor exercise facility.
In the research with actual people visiting nature at regular intervals, levels of cortisol taken from saliva samples dropped. And this proved to be the case regardless of time of day or other variables.
Nature also boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production which promotes happiness.
In addition, research is able to demonstrate that we can relieve stress in a few minutes of exposure to nature by measuring muscle tension, blood pressure and overall brain activity.
And communing with nature can even help with depression. Data demonstrates that an hour and half walk in nature drops activity in the area of our brains associated with negative rumination.
The American Heart Association states that “If you’re feeling blue, try going outside to green, natural spaces… and even just the view of the forest from a hospital room helps patients who are feeling down.”