How Going Outside Can Help Improve Your Mood

Ren Ran

Recently, I’ve made a habit of seeking out activities to do alone. Sometimes this involves going to a movie by myself (for instance: seeing Crazy Rich Asians twice, solo – no regrets) or strolling through a museum; but I’ve found that the most rewarding alone time occurs when I choose to be around greenery in some capacity.

Whether I’m walking around a conservatory that specializes in plants which wouldn’t naturally grow in Ohio (above), or choosing to venture to a local park to see the gardens before sunset, I never feel as at-peace as I do when I’m spending some time with good ol’ Mother Nature.

The concept of nature being a mood-lifter is not a new one. However, I find that even with this knowledge in the back of my mind, I still don’t surround myself with nature as much as I could! Plus, I have a pretty flexible schedule – so if I don’t get to it very often, I can imagine that those who work 9-5 office hours get outside even less. But, it’s crucial to connect with the earth. Not only will it make you feel happier and less stressed; but it may also make you appreciate just how small you are in this world.

I know that whenever I feel overwhelmed, taking a moment to truly focus on Mother Nature always brings me a sense of wonder and gratitude. This could include observing the leaves on the trees; the flowers blooming; the bees flitting to and fro, pollinating; or simply listening to the minute sounds of birds, crickets, or wind. These moments are when I can appreciate that I am one tiny piece of a magnificent puzzle.

Going outside is obviously much easier when it’s nice out – because that’s when there is an abundance of flowers, greenery, and wildlife to behold. However, you can still get a similar effect by visiting your local conservatory! These places are typically open year-round, and if they’re like the Cincinnati conservatory, then they’ll have rotating exhibits that highlight different plant life. Perhaps you can even catch a butterfly show, depending on the time of year. 🙂

No matter how it fits into your schedule, make time to spend time with Mother Nature as often as you can. If your schedule is truly crazy and you just don’t know how to incorporate this, then consider adding some plant life to your home (just be sure to put in the time and effort to maintain it)! Another option is to start small: plan to go outside or to an indoor “green” area once a month, and then increase the number of visits gradually.

I hope this helps those of you who may be feeling overwhelmed or disconnected. Just remember: whenever you’re stressed, take a deep breath and observe the natural world around you!

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