Imagine this. You go to the doctor’s office as you have been struggling with anxiety, lack of sleep, or you still just can’t get over the game of thrones ending (It’s been two years. Let it go.). Whatever your reason, you want an expert opinion. After finishing your assessment, the doctor looks at you and says, “I’m going to prescribe you time in nature. Go hug a tree up to three to four times a day.”
If you’re like my father, you’ll find yourself walking out and saying, “What type of hippie medicine is this!? What a waste of time.” However, you’d be wrong to think this.
Doctors in the UK are now allowed to make “green prescriptions” and no this is not code for medical marijuana…although that would’ve a great euphemism. A green prescription is the doctor telling you that you need to get outside more as there are many proven benefits that come with spending time in nature. Here are just a couple:
Morning sunlight, or morning cloud cover as we head into, is great for re-setting your internal and clock makes it easier to fall asleep at night. Twenty-minutes is the ideal amount that shows up in many studies but build the habit by starting out small until it you get there.
Reduced Stress & Anxiety
Activities such as walking, hiking, running, or frolicking (my personal favorite) outside have shown to help with anxiety. A study done by a team at Cornell found that as little to 10 minutes could provide benefit and that the positive effects seemed to plateau after 50 minutes. However, no one will stop you if you want more than 50 minutes!
Like I said, there are many benefits other than the two I have listed but I have found that my “green prescription” has helped me the most with these. Now do yourself a favor and hug a tree.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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