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Long work days, busy family life, activities, and even time with friends and family can place a cloud on your mood. However, a quick pick-me-up might be just outside your door. According to research recently published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, studies show evidence that interacting with nature improves mood and health. In two different studies, results showed that just five minutes out-of-doors could positively affect your emotions. If you find yourself needing something uplifting to get you out of a funk, try these suggestions.
- Take a five-minute walk around the building. Whether you work in an urban area or a strip mall, stepping outside might be all you need to change your outlook.
- Pet a puppy. Stop by a shelter on your way home from work and give some love to a kitten or puppy. Just interacting with an animal lifts your spirits.
- Take your lunch in a park. If an urban park is within walking distance of your work, pack a portable lunch and eat as you walk. Then, find a bench and meditate for a few minutes before returning to the office.
- Put some plants on your balcony. Having a fern or succulent to care for forces you outside once in a while.
- If you can’t get outside, stand in front of a window and gaze into the distance. Just focusing outside the building promotes relaxation.
- Spend the weekend hiking. Even a few hours spent in nature changes your perspective on life.
- Breathe deeply as you enter and exit your vehicle or public transportation to take a little of the outdoors with you as you travel.
- Find the opportunity to roll down the car windows. Better yet, slide open that sunroof or put the top down.
- Step outside when you’re on the phone. That way, you aren’t interrupting your house or office mates, and you're inhaling non-conditioned air.
- Walk to the coffee shop or convenience store. Instead of hopping in the car, stroll to your nearest brewery. You’ll get a dose of nature, and perhaps meet friends along the way.
- Dine al fresco. Ask for the outdoor seating, even if it’s a little cooler. That way your mealtime becomes extra relaxing.
If you don’t have time to slip outside for a break, add some nature to your indoor environment. Put a plant on your desk or bring in a bunch of flowers. Even setting a bowl of coffee beans near your workspace lifts your mood. Trimming a bonsai tree refreshes your brain. Or, try a sand and rock garden to occupy a minute or two.
If you want more nature in your life, talk to your real estate specialist about finding a home with a yard, small garden or relaxing patio.