Gratitude makes us healthier, at least according to some scientific studies When I feel down and out, I try to remind myself of all the things for which I am grateful - all the things I enjoy in life.
At present, I am nursing a broken rib from a recent fall and a case of tendinitis in my knee from some over ambitious fall gardening, as well as a sudden case of jaw popping when I chew. So, a good dose of gratitude should help me heal and get my mind off my woes. This post is part of my newest series - the Gratitude Series, meant to help us all remember some of the wonderful parts of our world and our life, so we can all be healthier and happier.
In today's crowded and developed world, many of us aren't regularly able to be outdoors as often as our ancestors. Yet the great outdoors can be mighty powerful.
Getting outdoors gives you vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential to the health of our bones and hearts. We typically can't get enough of it from food. Unprotected exposure to sunlight for brief periods is what we need.
The feel of the sun on my skin is wonderfully warm. In spring and fall I bask in it.
Getting outdoors makes you look at distances more, easing eye strain.
Computer screens, TV screens, phone screens and walls keep our eyes focus on the near. To maintain vision, we should look up and out at a distance.
And oh what gorgeous sights there are in the great outdoors to see - green grass, fall colors, sparkling winter snows, mountain vistas, ocean waves and starry skies!
Getting outdoors wakes up your skin to temperature differences and wind.
Indoor air can be stale, stinky, and just plain boring. Step outside and you feel the wind on your cheeks, the coolness of a fall day or the breath taking heat and humidity of summer.
I love the feel of the wind, the sound of it flowing through the trees, rustling the leaves - watching its movement from place to place, like an invisible hand working through the landscape.
Getting outdoors gives you exercise.
Yes, you can go to the gym. But, going outside for your walk is free. You tend to exercise longer outside (because you may enjoy it more) , you expend more energy going up and down those hills and facing the wind. You also use different muscles.
Taking a walk around the block means that you have to get yourself back to your start point, as opposed to just stopping the treadmill and stepping off.
Although I do exercise indoors each morning (except when I have a broken rig!), when I go outside, I get involved in interesting activities or tasks that compel me to keep going until I finish.
Getting outdoors gets you out of your self.
If you are like me, you can get into a very myopic view of things if you stay indoors a lot. Sometimes I get to the state where I can't see the forest for the trees, can't see past the end of my nose, get bogged down in the details and other such cliche statements.
Being outdoors opens my mind up to other thoughts and pushes me out of that never ending loop of thought I sometimes enter.
Getting outdoors can calm our spirit and reduce our stress.
Just hearing the water babble over the stones in the brook, or the wind rustle through the trees, or the birds call to one another can ease our stress. Green spaces have a calming influence on us.
Our planet is beautiful and wondrous. We were shaped as a species to live on it, out in it. It's good for us!