Nature Builds Happiness & Supports Your Immune System

Study Nature, love Nature, stay close to Nature. It will never fail you.

– Frank Lloyd Wright

In this moment of chaos across the globe, it helps everybody to be able to stop and find some stillness. Those who find themselves in Costa Rica are fortunate in so many ways, and it would benefit us to be aware of what our location does for us.  The peace of staying home in Costa Rica is loaded with benefits, Namely, we have sunshine providing Vitamin D. We have clean water and air. Locally, we have access to home delivery services for groceries, including the local organic growers and producers of wonderful artisanal products so your diet or lifestyle does not have to suffer. Those who are surrounded by nature receive from it much more then they may realize.

Research in a growing scientific field called Ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Studies have found that those who did a nature walk had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is active during rumination, defined as repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions. “When people are depressed or under high levels of stress, this part of the brain malfunctions, and people experience a continuous loop of negative thoughts,” says Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance. Digging a bit deeper, it appears that interacting with natural spaces offers other therapeutic benefits. For instance, calming nature sounds and even outdoor silence can lower blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which calms the body’s fight-or-flight response. In the Southern Zone, silence means the absence of man made sound, yet it is not silent because the jungle always makes noise. Be it insects, birds, animals, water (streams, waves, rain), leaves in the trees. We are surrounded by Nature’s music. The visual aspects of nature can also have a soothing effect, according to Dr. Strauss. “Having something pleasant to focus on like trees and greenery helps distract your mind from negative thinking, so your thoughts become less filled with worry.”

In all, the right level of Vitamin D in the body helps us in the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Besides, it also ensures the smooth functioning of the immune system. Don’t believe me, go for a brisk walk in the early morning sun and see how you feel after!

Scientific Reports, Health Benefits from Nature Experience Depend on a Dose, Danielle F. Shananhan, June 2016

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