Our schedules have become packed, and our daily commute has lengthened. The time spent in artificially lighted rooms has increased, even while our gaze has been compressed. It’s not surprising that our health has begun to suffer. Our bodies were built to move. Our senses crave freshness and invigoration. That doesn’t tend to happen in dark offices, behind heavy doors, in chairs that roll and swivel.
We are increasingly being confronted with a world where the majority of people are obese, depressed, anxious, stressed, and distracted. When this state of being becomes constant, our arteries begin to harden, our adrenals become exhausted, and our mood sours, leaving us tenser, angrier, and more irritable. Pharmaceutical companies have sought to remedy this problem by plying us with expensive drugs that have nasty side effects. In the end, our list of health complaints only increases and instead of feeling happier, we just become numbed.
What if the answer to our health problems wasn’t a new drug, or a new food, or a new exercise? What if all we really needed was to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air, among the trees? New research is showing that when we spend time in nature, our heart rate declines, our respiration slows, we sweat less, and the level of stress hormones in our blood drops. We function better on a cognitive level too, and our creativity is unlocked. All of this happens without the influence of any drugs. We just need to visit a park, walk slowly among the trees, and listen to the birds as they sing.
If you’ve always enjoyed visits to your local park, science has now confirmed that you need it. Consider it a prescription from your doctor. Go out and hug your favourite tree today.
Excerpt: “In 2009 a team of Dutch researchers found a lower incidence of 15 diseases—including depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and migraines—in people who lived within about a half mile of green space. And in 2015 an international team overlaid health questionnaire responses from more than 31,000 Toronto residents onto a map of the city, block by block. Those living on blocks with more trees showed a boost in heart and metabolic health equivalent to what one would experience from a $20,000 gain in income. Lower mortality and fewer stress hormones circulating in the blood have also been connected to living close to green space”.
About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000. She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.