Why Getting Outdoors Will Make You A Happier Person

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This is a guest post by Johnie Gall of DirtbagDarling.com.

I don’t have to tell you what you already know, but I’ll do it anyway: Getting outdoors will make you smile. There’s a natural high that comes with hiking, camping, paddling, skiing and even gardening that most of us attribute to simply being out in nature, but our theory isn’t that far off from what’s actually going on biologically—there’s actual scientific proof that being outdoors makes you a happier person. Even if you can only log fifteen minutes outside during your busy day, here’s why you should make it a priority:

Water, trees

Outdoor Exercise Makes You Happy

Sure, exercise is mood boosting in all its forms, but outdoor sweat sessions may be best, according to a review of studies on outdoor exercise published in Environmental Science & Technology. The studies compared indoor exercisers with outdoor ones and found a decrease in the risk of mental illness and an increase in happiness among the latter. Try swapping out the treadmill for the walking path once a week to notice a difference.

Sun through trees

You Need the Sun

A chronic lack of sun exposure has been linked to seasonal affective disorder, fertility problems, depression and even some forms of cancer. Sunlight is your body’s preferred form of Vitamin D, so even if you pop vitamins like there’s no tomorrow, it’s crucial to get at least ten minutes of sun exposure to your hands and face daily.

Flower taped to tree

You’ll Sleep Better

Our bodies perform best when we follow their natural circadian rhythms—the cycle of sunlight and darkness over the course of 24 hours (in other words, day and night). Try to wake up naturally with the sun by pulling back the curtains before bed, and spend time outside while it’s still light out. Doing so will help you produce melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel awake and cheerful.

outdoors

You’ll Be Friendlier

A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that just a few minutes of exposure to nature every day makes us more caring. Even something as simple as tending to an herb garden can make you more empathetic towards others, and in turn, people will love being around you.

Tree tops 

You’ll Get an Energy Boost

Want to feel more alive? Take a hike. In 2010, the Journal of Environmental Psychology claimed that spending time in nature provides people with a greater “sense of vitality,” which includes increased energy and a heightened sense of well-being. So the next time you feel sluggish, toss the coffee and go for a walk (or at least walk to get your cup of coffee!).

3 rocks

You’ll Appreciate the Little Things

Scientific? Not really, but we think there’s value in saying it: Spending time outdoors will help you appreciate the beauty in life. A walk through the woods, a dip in the ocean, the view from the top of a mountain—take those memories with you when you’re in a stressful situation and use them to bring the smile back to your face.

Check out Johnie’s blog DirtbagDarling.com.

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Comments

Anais Bokanovsky -October 5, 2013, 7:22AM

What an interesting and very motivating post! Thank you :)

Alexa Sonken {Invitations for Creatives} -October 5, 2013, 11:30AM
rose -October 5, 2013, 5:33PM

Loll I’m sorry but that pic that says “Go Outside” is a bit creepy. Its like Go Outside and Get Murdered in the Woods!

Paperstarz -October 5, 2013, 6:06PM

Since when does going to the woods means getting murdered? ;O

Love all the pics. Very inspiring!

Suzanna R -October 6, 2013, 2:19AM

I’m usually a secretary, but for the month of October I decided to work a walnut harvest here in central CA. The scent of the walnut trees, the sound of the wind rusting through the branches, the sunlight filtering through the canopy of the huge old trees. It’s also so different to be outdoors from 7-5, you feel the slow warming of the day.

Suzanna R -October 6, 2013, 2:22AM

And oh do I ever sleep better.

Eva -October 6, 2013, 6:53AM

outdoor running and hiking – is a MUST!

Verrence -October 6, 2013, 8:10AM

I’m defo autumn/winter person, for me it’s best time to go out walking or running, love fresh air.

Juliette Laura -October 7, 2013, 7:47PM

Getting outside is SUCH a must for me!

xo, Juliette Laura
http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/InfiniteStyleShop

ayesha -October 15, 2013, 4:40AM

Such a wise post! Thanks! I’ll definitely start running!

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