it’s fall and during this time of year many families start to feel more stress. you might have children who need lunches packed and to be driven to school or extra-curricular activities, or you may be feeling the pressure of looming deadlines at work. it seems that once fall hits, then we quickly move into the holiday season – and we all know the stress that can bring!
we have found that the best way to lower stress levels is as simple as a walk outside. after all, when we go outside we don’t have the distractions of traffic, phones, televisions, and that never ending laundry pile that we all seem to have. the effects of breathing fresh air and being surrounded by natural light can be felt almost immediately and the act of walking or using our bodies in a physical way helps to increase blood flow, endorphins, and overall health.
a walk anywhere is good, but it’s even better if you can find a natural environment to move around in. when we go on a walk outdoors, all of our senses are stimulated. we can pay attention to the wildlife around us, the colors of the trees and the sounds of the forest. when we do this we intentionally create space to be in the present moment. while we walk and take in the sights and sounds around us, we can also learn to pay attention to our bodies. how does my body react when i am sitting still near the stream? do i feel at ease or is there tension? how about when i climb uphill to a lookout and gaze at the sites below?
nature has such a powerful force to heal that the japanese have coined a term for it, shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.” studies have found that this act can not only reduce stress hormone production, but it can also reduce blood pressure and increase your overall sense of well-being and happiness. this can be particularly helpful for women who are beginning their journey towards conception. we know that reduced stress and increased feelings of happiness can help produce the hormones key to conception. while each person reacts to stress differently, researchers are starting to explore more about the connections between conception and stress hormones.
as the weather starts to cool, let’s all make a plan to get outside and enjoy the many benefits of nature; whether alone or with your family, being outdoors has the power to change your health and well-being.
“i go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” john burroughs (1837-1921)
if you need a little help getting started with a mindfulness routine, or would like additional tips on how to destress your mind, join our well+prepared breathe class.