Why does being outside make you happy?
Did you know: what you see, hear, smell, and taste affects your mood?
It also affects how your body functions.
An unpleasant environment can make you feel nervous, anxious, stressed, or sad whereas pleasant environments reduce stress, soothe, and increase happiness. Nature is a pleasant environment for us!
Let’s get to the question at hand: why does being outside make you happy? We’ll also explore the health benefits of being outdoors!
Top 6 Benefits Of Being Outdoors
If you want to discover the science of living a happy life, step outside!
Spending time outdoors promotes your well-being and improves your life in 6 main ways:
1. Relieves Stress & Anxiety
Green spaces lower your stress levels and reduce anxiety. If you spend time outdoors, your cortisol levels decrease. Cortisol is the hormone that makes you stressed.
When your cortisol levels decrease, your stress levels reduce. You gain better control of your emotions, including fear and anger.
Without stress, your body functions as it should. Your blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate all return to normal.
If you want to lower blood pressure, spend a few minutes in nature to get it under control!
2. Promotes Physical Health & Mental Health
Natural light from the sun triggers the production of Vitamin D and serotonin. Vitamin D improves bone health and your immune system, while serotonin makes you feel good.
This helps you deal with depression and mood disorders effectively.
Some forms of ecotherapy or nature therapy, such as forest bathing, increase your energy and promote your psychological well-being for the long haul. Walking in the forest and absorbing its atmosphere helps you care for your mental health.
Generally, sitting in nature is one of the most effective ways to hack feel-good chemicals and boost your mood. In this way, you can stay happy and prevent feelings of depression from getting to you.
There are other ways to trigger the release of happy chemicals. We’ve outlined some of them in this article: science-backed happiness chemicals and how to hack them. You can check it out to learn more about how to increase your happiness.
3. Helps With Healing
A growing number of scientific studies continue to reveal the benefits of the outdoors on patients’ health.
Patients recover faster when they spend time outdoors. They experience fewer complications and are less dependent on painkillers.
Those who’ve undergone surgeries recuperate and are discharged from the hospital sooner when exposed to nature’s elements, such as indoor plants.
Because of this, doctors are now prescribing green space as part of their medical care to patients.
Commonly known as ‘nature prescriptions,’ physicians advise patients to spend time outdoors.
Walking in urban parks to breathe fresh air will unlock the healing power of nature over time. In addition to speeding up their healing, patients enjoy prolonged physical and psychological wellness in life.
4. Improves Focus
Spending time in nature enhances your ability to focus. You take a break from the chaotic world and pay attention to your experiences in nature. It improves your short-term memory and increases your attention span.
Research shows that being outdoors also increases the attention span of children with ADHD. They’re able to concentrate better when needed.
5. Leads To Better Sleep
When you spend more time outdoors during the day, you’ll sleep better at night.
Researchers have proven that more time in nature improves sleep quality, especially for people above 65 years of age.
Better sleep quality improves physical movements for adults this age. They enjoy improved mobility and can perform activities in their daily lives more easily.
6. Promotes Social Interactions
When people spend time in nature, they develop a sense of community.
Research on Chicago public housing residents indicates that people who live in areas with trees are more united than those who don’t. They support each other and have a greater sense of belonging to their neighborhood.
Time spent in nature also increases empathy and kindness. This promotes your relations with friends and family. You become happier and kinder.
Since kindness is contagious, just being in nature has the potential to make the world a better place.
Maybe you’ve moved to a new place where you don’t know anyone, and you’re trying to figure out how to be happy without friends. Nature is your answer! It can promote friendships, and it’s a great place to be when you’re alone.
Why Does Being Outside Make You Happy?
So, why does being outside make you happy?
Being outdoors makes you happy because nature balances the production and secretion of hormones in your body.
Hormones coordinate and regulate the different functions or processes of your body. If your body does not produce these hormones in a balanced way, your emotions fluctuate.
You end up feeling a range of emotions within a short while. Most of us struggle to understand and control our emotions because of this.
However, if you spend some time outdoors, how your hormones are secreted balances out, and you become happy.
How Does Being Outside Balance Your Emotions To Make You Happy?
Spending time in a natural environment reduces the production of stress-related hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
At the same time, it triggers the production of happiness chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.
It also moderates the production of melatonin – the hormone that promotes healthy rest, while regulating other hormones that boost your immune system.
We could go on and on, but you see why being outside makes you happy? The natural world promotes healthy hormone secretion in an almost magical way.
It’s important to note that hormones don’t work in isolation. A delicate balance of different hormones brings maximum positive effects.
For example, serotonin generates feelings of contentment, while dopamine brings reward. However, boosting your serotonin levels won’t produce the intended effect if you’re too low on dopamine since dopamine helps to regulate serotonin.
Nature harmonizes your hormones perfectly without needing much effort from you. Sitting in one spot gives you all the benefits of being in a natural environment. But try to engage in some form of physical activity while you’re outside to gain the health benefits of exercise too.
How Long Do You Have To Spend Outside To Be Happy?
If you want to know how to get happy fast, the great outdoors can certainly help you!
So, not too long! Research suggests 120 minutes a week. You can break it down and fit it into your daily routine. Just 17-20 minutes a day is enough.
Now you know why the great outdoors makes you happy!
Spending time outdoors, and being in nature, is loaded with benefits.
The time you spend outdoors allows you to experience the healing power of green space. It’s a simple activity that can transform all areas of your life.
But, if you’re like most people, you probably spend the majority of your time indoors. If that’s the case, there are still plenty of ways to bring nature into your life and reap the benefits. Here are a few ideas:
- Bring plants into your home or office
- Go outside for a walk or run in the park with friends
- Go camping, hiking, or swimming in a natural setting
- Watch nature videos on TV or social media
- Relax near a body of water, even a manmade lake or fountain
No matter how you choose to do it, spending time in nature is good for your mind, body, and soul. It’s a great way to live life in the present and always be happy!
So make it a daily habit to spend a few minutes outside. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. If you need some help, you can use the Do Happy App to help you build this habit effectively!