“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” -John Muir
Maintaining the balance between work, life, and relationships is hard. Making time for self-care can be even harder. In the article titled “The Therapeutic Value in Nature”, Dan Mager tells us about the importance of stepping away from the stress-inducing circumstances in our life and stepping into our natural environments.
“Natural environments- green spaces, lakes or oceans, the mountains, and the forest- tend to have a present-centering effect that brings our attention to the here and now. It precipitates a shift from the sympathetic division of the central nervous system (that engages in response to stress) to the parasympathetic division. This activates the body’s relaxation response, wherein breathing slows down and deepens, internal dialogue becomes less incessant, and worries are less pressing.” (Mager, 2016)
Mager goes on to tell us that the importance of this therapeutic value should not be underestimated and sites meta-analysis research to support this claim. A research study performed in Japan on the subject of shinrin-yoku (translating to forest bathing, making contact with and taking in the forest atmosphere) confirmed that “time spent in forest environments promotes lower concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity.” (Mager, 2016)
We encourage you to read Dan Mager’s entire article by clicking on the link below, and to find your outdoor therapy space here in the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.