If we convert the 2 million years of history of our species to the scale of one human life, it would be as though we had only lived in cities for the last 4 months of our lives…. In this short period of time we have ended the relationship we had established with our natural environment. Reconnect with nature!
The society in which we live contributes to high levels of stress and the perception of having poor or even bad health, without being afflicted by any specific illness.
However, we all acknowledge that when we go back to nature, we get a feeling of relaxation, balance and harmony. This is because we reconnect with the natural evolutionary process: for millions of years, our physiological functions evolved to adapt to the natural environment in which we lived. Our transition towards an artificial environment (such as a city) creates a disruption that causes stress and a sense of physical and emotional discomfort.
Many scientific studies demonstrate the therapeutic effects of contact with nature, fundamentally by regulating the Autonomic Nervous System which is responsible for controlling involuntary actions. Scientific studies show that a walk in nature helps:
The physiological mechanisms activated are:
1.- Increasing the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for storing and maintaining energy levels and generating a natural state of relaxation.
2.- Reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (antagonist of the parasympathetic nervous system). This is the system that prepares us for action and stimulates our body’s fight or flight response.
To obtain these benefits though, you don’t necessarily need to delve deep into a dense forest or invest large amounts of money.
As Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, professors of psychology say: A walk in nature is a resource available to us to remedy the fatigue that makes us irritable, impulsive, impatient and distracted.