As kids, most of us will remember being told to “go and play outside”. This instruction wasn’t just a means of your parents getting rid of you for half-an-hour, but rather that the fresh air, visual stimulants and physical exercise served to be beneficial to our well-being.
We experience an uplifting feeling when we take a walk outdoors. With calming sights and sounds, rejuvenating exercise and fresh air, and by taking you away from modern-world distractions – nature has a magical way of making you feel happy and relaxed.
These days, the tried-and-tested method still holds fast. Proven to help treat a wide range of medical ailments, the ‘nature prescription’ has also become the ‘elixir’ for many people suffering from stress or anxiety disorders.
It doesn’t matter whether your style of travel is luxurious or frugal – travel brings an element of fun and excitement, so adding the nature element to it is nothing but beneficial for you and your well-being.
Here are just 7 of the reasons why travelling in nature is great for stress:
Savour the Anticipation
The benefits of travelling in nature start long before you get on the plane. Psychologists believe that anticipation is vital to living a fulfilling life. It is a powerful and positive emotion, so the simple act of waiting for something amazing and fun can give you the required optimism to quell the demons of stress and depression.
Sun: The Powerful Energy Source
It’s a fact that increased vitamin D intake is a magic potion for happiness. A vitamin D deficiency is more common in those experiencing anxiety and depression, and can even lead to a temporary ailment known as Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder, or SAD.
It plays an important role in regulating moods and warding off depression – so be sure to get a full dose!
Enjoy the Physical Perks
Why not take a barefoot stroll? Notice how the grass tickles your toes, and hear last year’s fallen leaves crunch under your feet: feel the grains of sand while walking along the shore, and let the fresh air fill your lungs!
Whatever you do, get off the carpet and concrete and let nature’s relaxing energy soak in, working its magic on your mind and body. Even try something new like meditating, outside yoga, or simple actions like circular breathing.
Unplug from Life
Day-to-day life is full of information flying at you from all directions; emails, texts, work, people and responsibilities all clamouring for your attention. This ‘always-on’ energy leads to a state of over-stimulation where the brain never gets a chance to unwind, and inevitably – you find yourself unable to switch off.
Travelling in nature, away from the hustle-and-bustle of city life is a great way to unplug yourself from all the noise, giving your body and mind a chance to re-set and recuperate.
Break the Routine
As it’s important to get away from the busyness of life, it’s important to take time out from routine! Work, school-runs, housework, homework. Being stuck spending most of your waking life in the same place, doing the same thing can lead to a feeling of monotony and flatness, so even if you enjoy your job, remember that it’s vital to shake things up once in a while.
Stepping out in the fresh air, combined with some good sleep can be hugely refreshing. Take a break and live in time to the pace time of the bush.
Stepping out from the normal sphere of existence can help you in ways beyond just rest and recuperation. A holiday is a time for trying new things, gaining new life experiences and broadening your horizons.
The lack of stress and worry can give you time to reflect on things that matter so that you may come back from your time away with a renewed sense of direction and inspiration.
Come back Refreshed
Whatever style of holiday you enjoy, taking time for yourself is one of the best forms of stress relief treatment available. So, if you feel like stress and busyness are taking over your life, a bit of relaxation and travel might be the ideal answer.
Words by Hassan Khan at Breathing.com