Like many people, you may spend most of your days cooped up inside a building and have little or no time to spend outside. That way of life is relatively common, especially if you have a sedentary office job. However, it can also become a very unhealthy existence. Keep reading to learn several reasons why it’s good to go outside plus several recommendations for how you can do that more often.
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1. It Allows You To Clear Your Head
Perhaps one of the greatest things about spending time outside is that it takes you away from what you were doing before and gently encourages you to clear your head and generate new thoughts. As you go outside and naturally get on the move, you may find you stop dwelling on things that were previously troubling you and figure out solutions to problems without even trying. Sometimes the simple act of being in a new environment is just the thing needed to help you return to a healthy way of thinking.
Furthermore, if you decide to engage in some form of active movement while outside, such as walking, the decision could help you to calm down if you’re feeling stressed. There are many ways to cope with stress, and one of the healthiest ones is, arguably, just going for a walk. That’s probably why you frequently see people who are dealing with great anxiety go outside and take brisk walks around the area because they’re desperately trying to calm down as quickly as possible.
2. It Gives You A Different Perspective On Life
By staying inside too much, we often forget about what nature has to offer. For example, depending on how long you go outside and where you go, you’ll probably be exposed to numerous sensations, sounds and experiences that wouldn’t be possible if you had just remained indoors. You might hear the crinkle of leaves under your feet, concentrate on how the breeze cools your skin, and feel the sun offering its natural warmth.
One positive factor about the final characteristic mentioned is that exposure to the sun naturally gives your body a dose of vitamin D. People who do not go outside very often may be deficient in vitamin D and not even know it. Getting more vitamin D has many advantages, including improved mood.
Time outside also reminds you how you share your time on Earth with countless creatures and must learn to live in harmony with them. If you go outside for even a small amount of time, you’ll likely hear singing birds and may even encounter other types of wildlife such as insects and rodents. The more often you encounter animals in their natural habitats, the easier it will be to recall why it’s so important to treat the outdoors with respect.
After coming in contact with a squirrel, for example, you may be especially careful to throw your trash away in the nearest garbage can rather than absentmindedly forgetting about it before moving on with your day. That’s because you’ve just been reminded that you’re not the only living thing to come in contact with what’s now rubbish. In the case of the squirrel, that critter might digest some of your trash because it curiously thinks there might be some leftover food within. Unfortunately, though, there could be something harmful in your trash that causes the creature to get sick.
3. Time Outside Lets You Engage In A Shared Experience
You might also decide to start an outdoor ritual that takes you outside for a certain amount of time, preferably every day. Maybe you’ll decide to spend the last 15 minutes of your lunch break strolling outside with a friend and talking to each other about how life is going. Perhaps you’ll create some after-dinner family time by instituting a plan where, immediately after dinner, you and the rest of your family engage in a slow stroll around the neighborhood to aid with digesting your food and discussing your days.
Regardless of what you specifically decide to do and with whom, the time outside with others allows you to take part in a shared experience that obviously has many similarities for each of you, but also some different factors, depending on your perceptions. For instance, you can call attention to a type of flower that’s just started blooming and allow your companions to marvel at its beauty. That’s a similar shared experience.
However, you might think that the temperature is very pleasant, while your friend argues that it’s a little chilly. You’re both sharing the experience of being outside and experiencing the current weather conditions, but the difference is that you love the experience, and your friend thinks it would be nicer if it were just slightly warmer.
Spending too much time indoors may cause us to become too isolated from others, especially if we use up a lot of time in front of computer screens for work reasons. At first, it seems like a computer that’s connected to the Internet allows you to share parts of your world with other people in your life, especially through social media.
In some respects, that’s true, but it can also make us feel more disconnected from others than ever because we spend no, or very little time, actually face to face with people we know. If you go out in nature with a loved one, that allows you to get instant feedback on the things you see and otherwise experience. As a result, you may discover a sense of kinship with the other person that allows you to realize how, even though it may not seem like it at first, you’re more connected to other people than you ever realized.
4. Going Outside Lets You Get More Enjoyment From Where You Live
Maybe it seems as if you know your community like the back of your hand, and you’re well aware of all there is to see and do. However, that’s probably not quite true if you haven’t visited every single park and other outdoor activities near the area where you live. Challenge yourself to take part in at least one new local outdoor activity per week, and use those times to discover, or rediscover, the place you call home. The longer you live in a place, the easier it may become to overlook the parts of it that are so special and made you love it in the first place.
However, by scheduling times to go outside and enjoy certain activities in your community, you’ll probably come away with a much richer appreciation for the community where you live. Going outside in these planned ways may also allow you to create new connections with neighbors and other people who inhabit your area because you’ll probably encounter them as you go about your outdoor business and can probably find excuses to stop and chat.
These are just several of the many reasons why it’s a good idea to go outside intentionally and fully embrace the experience. Decide to do that today, and feel how your choice pays off.