There is no doubt about it, being in nature has many benefits, let's look at a few:
- You feel happier – A study in Finland showed that just spending fifteen minutes each day sitting in nature helped people feel more optimistic; when they walked in nature, their mood improved even quicker. A similar study out of Stanford University found that walking for 50 minutes in a city park boosted people's moods, and walking on a city street does not have the same effect.
- It reduces feelings of depression and anxiety – numerous studies have shown that the healing effects of being out in nature positively impact mental health.
- Lowers cortisol – being outside in nature can reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, leading to increased peace and calm.
- Stimulates the immune system - by being around trees that emit chemicals called phytoncides. These compounds released by commonly found trees here in the Pacific Northwest, including Cedar and Pine, protect the trees from bacteria and fungal attacks. Inhaling phytoncides has been shown to boost human immune systems, and the effects last for days and even up to a month after your walk!
You don't even have to be doing anything strenuous to benefit from the power of nature, Forest Bathing is becoming increasingly popular.
In 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries created the term shinrin-yoku, which translates to "forest bathing" or "absorbing the forest atmosphere."
It encourages people to get outside and immerse themselves in the power of nature.
You don't have to go for trail runs or do an intense hike so it's suitable for everyone. Being in nature this way has been shown to reduce heart rate.
The goal of forest bathing is to live in the present moment while immersing your senses in the forest's sights, sounds, and smells.
It can be considered a walking meditation.
Nature Coaching – coaching with the benefits of mother nature
Coaching is powerful on its own – having an inspiring session with a coach that is thought-provoking and encourages you to think outside the box.
But when paired with the power of nature and a slow meander through a natural area, wow, results can be outstanding!
Imagine having a change of scene – getting away from your desk and off zoom in a safe, natural environment. It allows you to connect to your right brain, the creative, imaginative side, and quiet your logical mind – your left brain, enabling you to develop new and innovative solutions.
There is also something special about walking beside someone as you process your thoughts; it feels very supportive without being face-to-face, avoiding feeling put on the spot.
Nature coaching reduces mental fatigue
Nature coaching also reduces mental fatigue. It gives us a break from the pressures of always being connected; you can allow yourself the time to connect differently and give your mind time to meander down paths that it perhaps wouldn't find when in a more formal environment.
After your nature coaching session
I always encourage my clients to integrate their coaching in nature sessions with journaling for added health benefits. Taking a few quiet moments alone to record your thoughts while you were coached in nature is a powerful exercise.
If you are interested in Coaching in Nature, read more about it.