Make plans now to celebrate Presidents’ Day by taking time to be in nature. Nature provides one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical health. Studies have shown that being in nature:
- Reduces anxiety and depression,
- Increases positivity and self-esteem,
- Improves your short-term memory and concentration,
- Restores your mental energy,
- Enhances creativity,
- Reduces stress, and
- Boosts your immune system.
“Nature” doesn’t necessarily mean frolicking in the snow or rock climbing. You can enjoy the benefits of contact with nature without even venturing out your door. If Presidents’ Day is cold, sit by the fire and enjoy images of nature whether you’re looking at the birds outside your window, admiring the architecture of bare tree branches or enjoying a book filled with scenic images. Arrange a bouquet of flowers purchased from the grocery store.
Your household pets can be a delightful manifestation of nature. Brain studies show that tactile contact with animals releases endorphins, brain chemicals that improve your sense of wellbeing. Some neuroscientists suggest that benefits of such interactions arise from temporarily shutting down human brains’ sometimes turbulent cognitive functions. Pet your dog or cat and enjoy the peaceful sensation.
If the weather permits, go to a park or garden near your home. Walk through a neighborhood with lush landscaping. Zoos and aviaries display some of nature’s finest creations. Because the presence of water makes the positive effects of being in nature even stronger, visit a lake or a stream or the seashore or a park with a fountain.
Annie Dillard observed, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Spend Presidents’ Day boosting the health of both your mind and your body.