Being Outdoors Is Like Taking Medicine
I want to talk about the importance of being outdoors, being outside, and immersing your brain in nature. I believe, with every cell of my body, that being outdoors is like taking medicine.
Whether it is looking at the horizon, staring up at the clouds, seeing the leaves of the trees dance in the wind, breathing in tree-filtered air, climbing rocks, hiking mountains, or laying on the raw earth- these simple acts have a profound effect on our mental health, emotional health, and gut health.
When I was little I was not an outdoors person. I lived in the country and was around a lot of nature, but I never really enjoyed or connected to it.
I think part of the reason that I did not connect to nature was that I was lacking my health.
Even when we are sick, or particularly because we are sick, our health benefits from being outdoors.
I partnered with a man who loves being outdoors. I am very grateful for the influence that he has on the amount of time that I now spend outdoors.
We have been building our lifestyle around being outdoors. He has taught me how to rock climb. So we are rock climbers which means that we spend our free time outdoors deep in nature. We also bought an airstream to live in and plan to live in climbing meccas.
For the first years of rock climbing, I really did not like it. I felt like a two-left-footed failure. But even from the beginning of climbing, I always appreciated the time being outdoors and going to special nature spots where only climbers go.
This last year, me being in a full-time workflow and working behind a computer, I really feel the difference of the weeks where we make it outside to climb. I viscerally feel how much my nervous system and my brain benefit from being outside.
My emotional state changes when I am in nature.
I have been pondering and watching this nature connection to gut health over the last year.
When I go from work to home to work to home and I don’t spend time outside it has a negative impact on my nervous system.
Even one day a week of concentrated time outside relaxes my nervous system. A relaxed nervous system means lower stress levels, lower cortisol levels, less inflammation, and higher brain functioning.
Higher stress levels impact gut health.
So I want to offer to be outdoors as a way to address stress-related gut health problems; think of it as nature-based stress medicine.
Being Outdoors is a way to balance our stressful lives.
Yes, stress is something to manage in our mind, but there is also a physiological component to being outdoors.
Gut health protocol- spend time outside. Lay on the ground in a park. Let your nervous system unwind. Watch the trees dance in the wind and the clouds drift.