• Daily Stress ReLeaf,  Plants & Happiness

    #23 What Happens When We Don’t See Nature as a Necessity to our Well Being?

    Canal Path, What Happens When We Don't See Nature as a Necessity to our Well Being? Daily Stress ReLeaf, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2021/03/08/nature-as-a-necessity/ #nature #necessity #plants #mentalhealth #outside #relaxation #destressing #stress

    Yesterday, I recommended the book The Nature Fix for those who want a compendium of the latest research about the healing effects of nature. Today, I want to spotlight a study in that book that I thought was incredibly revealing. It shows how we often miscalculate the benefits of spending time in nature. We see it as a luxury but we often don’t see nature as a necessity. Our mental health suffers as a result.

    A Psychologist Gives Students a Choice

    The psychologist Elizabeth Nisbet at Trent University in Ontario followed 150 students as they either walked outside by a canal or through one of the campus tunnels. Both routes arrived at the same destination. Beforehand, students had to fill out a questionnaire on how they thought they’d feel on their walks and then another one afterward to report their well-being. Nisbet found that “although outdoor walks in nearby nature made participants much happier than indoor walks did, participants made affective forecasting errors, such that they systematically underestimated nature’s hedonic benefit.”

    Because participants commonly underestimated how happy they’d feel afterward, they chose not to walk outside as often. That, in turn, created a kind of nature-avoidance loop. Generally speaking, when people choose not to go outside, they don’t know what they’re missing out on. Meanwhile, their mental well being doesn’t heal or advance. Then, once that avoidance attitude takes hold, they not only get outside less often but they don’t value the environment as much, which, in turn, lowers their valuation of sustainable practices, etc.

    In the end, we may feel like the “environment” or “nature” is something apart from us and far away. We may still feel a sense of ennui or stress but the idea that a walk along a canal or in a park can alleviate that seems silly or like it won’t work. There’s just one solution: to get outside and find out! I hope, if you have a choice, you’ll consider taking a walk outside today. Afterward, I bet you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel.

    Photo by Jako janse Van Rensburg

  • Daily Stress ReLeaf,  Plants & Happiness

    #20 Three Ways to Lower Stress With Plants This Weekend

    Paris Park in Spring, Three Quick Ways to Lower Stress With Plants This Weekend, Daily Stress ReLeaf, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2021/03/05/ways-to-lower-stress-with-plants/, #dailystressreleaf #relaxation #destressing #waystolowerstresswithplants #outside #eucalyptus #springtimeactivity #spring

    You might not think you have time to lower your stress because you have too much to do. But even busy people, especially moms, deserve a few minutes off from their hectic schedule.

    1. Get Outside for 10 Minutes

    The first of these ways to lower stress with plants is right outside your door. You might have snow on the ground where you live but it’s still worth sharing a brief moment with nature. Sometimes when I let the dog out, I take a minute to inhale the fresh smell of wet soil. I see the bright cloudy sky. I feel the cool rain on my face. So if you need to let your dog outside, take a few minutes, to hang around. Better yet, go for a walk in your local park. Do the trees have any leaves yet? Are the branches waving in the wind? How do the clouds move? Are they hanging or breaking up for bits of blue sky? Remember to breathe it all in. Even 10 minutes in an open natural space will refresh you.

    2. Bring Home Eucalyptus Stems

    Eucalyptus smells so spicy and fresh. You can probably imagine the scent right now. Supermarkets commonly sell the branches in their floral department. They range from five to ten dollars, depending on the size of the bundle. But the best thing about choosing eucalyptus over other flowers or leaves is they last. For weeks and weeks. So if you can, splurge a bit and put them in a vase of water. Then, whenever you pass by the table, rub your fingers on the leaves and smell that lovely scent. (And if you’re allergic, of course eucalyptus isn’t the best choice. ) Eucalyptus is known for its medicinal uses and a quick jolt of its minty scent will revive you as well.

    3. Plan a Springtime Activity

    Studies show that planning a vacation makes us slightly happier than when we’re actually on a vacation so dream a little about the future. What will you grow this year? Where can you go to see daffodils and tulips? How about watching a hyacinth bloom in a bulb container? Is there a botanical garden not too far away? Are there vegetable seeds you can start? Beans and peas are always easy and fun to start with kids in the house. Whatever your taste, plan a bit of fun to look forward to.