Being outside in nature can be beneficial to your health. Many of us instinctively seek out forest or lakeside pathways when the grind of daily life feels overwhelming. Being out in the open air, breathing in the scents of nature, listening to the songs of birds brings a sense of calm, a moment of peace in a day’s chaos. Time spent in nature not only helps relax the mind, but also has positive impacts on our immune system health.
A Time to Relax
A moment of calm out in nature switches the body’s nervous system response from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest”. When we are stressed or feel unsafe, we go into “fight or flight” mode which helps keep us alive by preparing us to fight a potential threat or flee from it, resulting in the physiological effects of a racing heart, high blood sugar, and a rush of adrenaline. Our immune system takes a back seat as it is not necessary to our immediate survival. Conversely, when relaxed and safe we are in “rest and digest” mode, resulting in improved digestion and optimal immune system function. More time spent in “rest and digest” mode helps our body maintain a healthy immune system response. If you’re unable to get a walk out in nature, time spent simply seeing and hearing nature engages the “rest and digest” nervous system. Looking out a window at the trees while drinking a calming tea or listening to nature sounds on headphones balances the autonomic nervous system, improves attention and promotes healing.
A Breath of Fresh Phytoncides
A Walk in the Woods
The Soil-Gut-Immune System Connection
To boost the benefits of your immune health supplements, carve out some time to spend outside in nature! Breathe in the scents, tune into the birds chirping, and get down into the dirt.
Dr. Jenna Jorgensen is a naturopathic physician and founder of Northwest Life Medicine Clinic in Bellingham, Washington. With an emphasis on healthy and sustainable lifestyle, she works with her patients to find and heal the underlying causes of their symptoms so they are able to live their life to the fullest. You can learn more about her at www.nwlifemedicine.com or follow her on Instagram at @docjorgensen for insights and updates about sustainable health and wellness.