Want to be Happier? Take a Walk in Nature

Within moments of beginning my walk around the grounds of the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley this morning, I began to experience that wonderful feeling of peace and calmness that washes over me me when I’m out in nature.  Whenever I begin to feel stressed, overwhelmed, quick to anger, or anxious, I’ve learned the best thing for me to do is head outside.  It doesn’t really matter what I do there.  It could be a hike in nature, a walk around my neighborhood, photographing flowers at a botanic garden, doing a bit of yard work, or simply staring out the back window, watching the birds at our feeder.  Science is finally beginning to back up what I’ve always known… that time in nature improves mental health.  Studies have found that…

  • spending time in nature increases happiness.
  • walking in nature fights depression.
  • time in nature improves the ability to concentrate.
  • exposure to nature gives people a heightened sense of well-being.

Can’t get out for a walk?  It’s also been found that simply having a window in your home with a view of nature decreases stress and improves mental health.

Need more proof?  Check out some of these articles…

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Photo taken January 4th, 2014

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

38 thoughts on “Want to be Happier? Take a Walk in Nature

  1. Want to be Happier? Take a Walk in Nature

    Agree and agree. Not only happier, calmer, peaceful and positive as well. As you can see in my about me page, I love hiking and taking long walks in the nature. I see to it that I have my 10,000 steps each day even if I have to go out there in the middle of the night or in the pouring rain.

    • Thanks! I’m continuing to work on it. And, by the way, I enjoyed your post today. I LOVE the idea of a neighborhood book lending library. I’ve contemplated the idea since I first read of the concept a year or two ago, but I just don’t see how I could pull it off in our HOA-ruled townhome development.

      • It’s fun making changes and improvements as we go along. I’m on my third theme since starting. It keeps it interesting for me. It’s amazing how varied the themes are and how you can adapt then to fit your needs.

        Sorry to hear about the HOA rules. I hear that complaint from many people and have experienced it myself when renting.

        Perhaps there is a library nearby that you could support. They are growing by leaps and bounds.

        Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You are not telling me I have not known for years (yes I know that is a double negative). Nature has sustained me thru 2 divorces and my mother’s death. I dread the day when I will not be able to be outside, but hope that I will always have a window to look thru at the garden and see the flowers and the birds. They are so calming and restoring.

  3. Ah yes, i wholeheartedly agree with this. The best way to calm my sometimes chaotic and overflowing mind is to just wander outside, breath in deeply the fresh air and see, really see, what’s around us. There is so much beauty to be found, so much wonders to experience. If we just take the time to really look and feel.

  4. Lovely post and beautiful photo, Linda – isn’t it good to recognise and know that you have that escape mechanism when you need it? Over the last 3 or 4 years I’ve been taking more and more photos, and capturing all the wonders that nature and the outdoors have to offer is always a sure way to lift my spirits when I’m down. Interestingly, I’ve recently discovered another calming and uplifting mechanism which is really working for me – Zentangling. (Just in case you haven’t heard of it, here’s a definition from the official Zentangle website (http://www.zentangle.com/): “The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.”) I’ve always said – and still do – that I can’t draw, but the great thing about Zentangling is that you don’t have to be able to! I find it really relaxing at the end of the day, and it refreshes my creative spirit and soul beautifully. I’m definitely an advocate for it :)

  5. I sign that :) Sometimes we need to go out of the city. All the stress with all the tasks, the noise, the velocity of modern life, too much technology all around us… sometimes we must get the head free and the nature is the right place to achieve that.

    Oh and btw… the “Restoring Peace” link seems not to work at least on my side. You might check that out.

    I also would like to ask if I can reblog your article. Greetings.

  6. I know what you mean, I love to be out walking in nature.
    I also have all of my apt windows that face green grass except in the harsh winter months.
    I do have trees to look at as well.

    • We, too, have all our bedroom windows facing a nature space. We’re considering moving, and my biggest fear is losing a view of nature. When my son becomes upset over something, he calms himself by running up to his room and staring out the window at the oak trees and birds.

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