Why Does Being Outside Make You Happy

Why Does Being Outside Make You Happy?

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 for your senses 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 talk about why being outside makes 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 and Anxiety

Cortisol is the hormone that makes you feel stressed. If you spend time outdoors in green spaces, your cortisol levels decrease.

When your cortisol levels decrease, your stress levels and anxiety start to decline. 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.

2. Promotes Physical Health and Mental Health

Sunlight can help you deal with depression and mood disorders more effectively. 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.

sunlight shining through the woods

Spending time in nature is one of the most effective ways to hack your feel-good chemicals and improve your mood. Nature makes you feel more alert, rejuvenated, and alive. If you spend enough time outdoors, you can stay happy and avoid feelings of depression.

Certain types of ecotherapy or nature therapy, like forest bathing, can even boost your energy and improve your overall psychological well-being for a long time.

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 have undergone surgeries recuperate and are discharged from the hospital sooner when exposed to nature, including indoor plants.

Because of this, doctors are now prescribing green space to patients as part of their medical care. Commonly known as ‘nature prescriptions,’ physicians advise patients to spend time outdoors.

Walking in urban parks to breathe fresh air unlocks the healing power of nature. In addition to speeding up their healing, patients enjoy prolonged physical and psychological wellness.

person wearing a hat standing between two trees

4. Improves Focus

Spending time in nature can improve your focus and reduce mental fatigue. Being surrounded by plants and trees can enhance your cognitive abilities and improve your short-term memory and attention span.

Research shows that children with ADHD may benefit from being outdoors as it can improve their ability to concentrate when needed.

5. Leads to Better Sleep

Spending more time outdoors during the day can improve your sleep at night. The sun sets our body clock, so getting enough natural light is essential for quality sleep.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve sleep for those over 65 years old. This improved sleep quality subsequently leads to better physical mobility and enhances the ability to perform activities of daily living.

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 living in areas with trees are more united than those without. They support each other and have a greater sense of belonging to their neighborhood.

building with vines growing all over it

Spending time in nature can boost empathy and kindness, improving your relationships with loved ones and increasing your overall happiness. 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 is 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 hormones in your body.

Hormones coordinate and regulate the different functions and processes of your body. If these hormones are not balanced, your emotions fluctuate.

hiker taking a picture with his phone

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 time outdoors, your hormones balance out, and you feel more at peace.

How Does Being Outside Balance Your Emotions to Make You Happy?

Spending time in the natural world reduces the production of stress-related hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

At the same time, it triggers the production of happy hormones 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.

Nature harmonizes your hormones perfectly without needing much effort from you.

Keep in mind that hormones do not function independently. The optimal outcome is achieved by maintaining a delicate balance of various hormones.

For instance, serotonin creates a sense of contentment, while dopamine triggers a reward response. If your dopamine levels are too low, boosting your serotonin levels will not result in the desired outcome because dopamine plays a crucial role in regulating serotonin.

Just being outside can give 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 benefits of exercise too.

two people canoeing along a river

How Long Do You Have to Spend Outside to Be Happy?

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.

So, if you want to know how to get happy fast, the great outdoors is your answer!

Final Thoughts

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 significantly improve your life.

But, if you’re like most people, you probably spend most of your time indoors. If that’s the case, there are still plenty of ways to bring nature into your life and reap some benefits. Here are a few ideas:

Bring plants into your home or office (such as these indoor plants)

Watch nature videos on TV or social media

Relax near a body of water, even a manmade lake or fountain

– Take an afternoon stroll through a local nursery or botanical garden

– Spend time in your backyard or balcony

– Invite your friends to join you on a walk outside

– Take a road trip to explore nature and the great outdoors

a thumbs up sticking out of a display of indoor plants

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. If you need help, you can use the Do Happy App to help you build this habit effectively! You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.


For more tips and tricks on becoming a happier you, visit the a little dose of happy blog or read these articles:

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