When I tell people where I’m from, I get a glazed donut look.
Because most people recognize Buffalo Grove as well as a monkey doing a math problem. Hands down it’s easier to just say Chicago.
Also, when a non-Chicagoan hears Buffalo Grove, they usually ask,
“Are there any buffalo?”
Sadly, there are zilch. But, there is another massive animal lurking nearby.
If you wander 15 minutos south, there is a forest preserve home to a herd of elk, in “Elk” Grove. Now talk about impressive animals! They can tower over 9ft tall and are one of the fastest land mammals… sprinting up to 45 mph… and can leap eight feet vertically. Plus, bull elk make a low-pitched roar (sounding eerily like Ringwraiths from Lord of The Rings)
Any who, in this forest preserve, you can walk… roller blade… bike… even skip around a gravel trail while watching these 700 pound beasts.
Besides marveling at these giants though, when you’re there, you totally forget you’re in the suburbs – and feel as if you’ve been dropped into the wilderness of Colorado. It’s truly an escape.
But research is showing there is something else about natural environments like this – some that actually change your brain!
Without further ado.
Here are 5 Health-Boosting Effects Of Nature:
1) Eases Tension, Anxiety and Depression
Researchers at Stanford University found walking for 90 minutes in nature “decreased activity in the brain associated with a key factor in depression”. Another 2015 study, found walking in nature decreased anxiety… reduced rumination (replaying events or situations over… and over)… and increased happiness and other positive emotions. A study in South Korea even found simply staring at photos of nature boosts emotional stability and positivity.
2) Boosts Sleep Quality
Spending time in nature enhances sleep quality. The exposure to sunlight improves your melatonin – a hormone that regulates your sleep cycles.
3) Prevents Damaging Eyesight
Hours behind a computer, telefono, or reading books strains the eyes. Researchers at Ohio State, the Australian National University, and Yat-sen University (China) found that lack of sunlight exposure is a major factor in myopia (nearsightedness) in children. When you stroll outside, your eyes can easily relax by focusing on objects in the distance.
4) Heightens Creativity
German researchers found that surrounding yourself in nature surges your creativity levels. One 2012 study even showed that simply glancing at the color green for under 10s boosted creativity more than any other color.
5) Changes Your Brain
According to a study at the Max Plank Institute for Human Development, people who lived close to forests had a healthier amygdala – this is the almond-shaped part of the brain responsible for anxiety and the stress response.
Researchers predict, the healthier this part of the brain is, the more resilient you are, and the better you are at handling stress. So simply living closer to nature makes this part of the brain healthier (even when controlled for other factors)
So if you’re a city dweller, spend more time in these places… even if it’s just a couple minutes each day.
It doesn’t have to be fancy.
It doesn’t have to have elk (shucks!).
It just has to be nature.
It’s easy to do
But also easy not to do.