We’ve know it all our lives. When we get stressed, we go outside and take a walk in nature. We even put a ton of time, money, and energy into restoring a creek near our home by removing truckloads of garbage and invasive species. We invite our friends, neighbors, students, and clients to take a walk on what we call our Nature Trail. Why? Because we know it is calming, centering, and well, just plain improves your outlook.
But up till now, we have only had antidotal evidence that walks in nature actually reduce stress. Now, a new scientific study by the University of Michigan finally confirms that time in nature, they call a “Nature Pill”, actually reduces cortisol, a leading stress hormone. Their findings were recently published in Frontiers in Psychology.
They asked a group of adults to spend 10 minutes or more sitting or walking in nature three times a week for eight months. Then, once every two weeks, the scientists took saliva samples to measure levels of cortisol before and after the nature experience.
According to Mary Carol Hunter, the study’s lead author, “(The) participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of the nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that, in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature.”
Interestingly, they were told to avoid factors know to influence stress like the use of social media, Internet, phone calls, conversations, and reading while taking their “nature pill.” In other words, just be presentin nature for 10 minutes or more!
Our business cards say that we are “Advisors, Speakers, and Hikers.” We spend as much time as possible in nature. And when we’re hiking along, we often see other folks walking the trails but not really interacting with nature. Instead, they’re totally engrossed in their devices, staring into space texting or chatting it up instead of appreciating the beauty that surrounds them. We appreciate the Michigan team for eliminating this obvious source of stress from their study.
According to Hunter, “Our study shows that for the greatest pay off, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.” She goes on to add, “This will allow customized nature pill prescriptions, as well as a deeper insight on how to design cities and well-being programs for the public.”
We love the idea of taking a “nature pill.” Just imagine eliminating all the pharmaceutical prescriptions that try to reduce our stress! Maybe we should all just put down our devises for 20 minutes a day and get back in touch with our natural roots as human beings on this wonderful planet and let nature do her magic.
This is just one more (official) reason to save our environment and make nature once again a part of our lives! See you out on the trail … without your phone!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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