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#LiveLifeOutsideChallenge: The Benefits of Nature for Mental Health

By TruGreen April 20, 2022
family playing on lawn

Let’s be honest… between the time we spend at our desks, tackling our daily errands, trying to make time for family and friends, how much time do we actually spend outside anymore? Truthfully, it’s likely not as much as you want. 

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, stress rates have consistently increased with each generation and continue to increase year over year. Because of this, the need for stress intervention methods has become more and more necessary. 

Fortunately, there is a simple way you can start to remedy your stress levels. Spending time outside comes with plenty of mental health benefits including slowing your body’s production of cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone. By spending as little as 20 minutes in your outdoor spaces each day, you can set yourself up for positive, long-term stress management habits.

To help support your efforts to spend more time outdoors and improve your mental health, we are sponsoring the #LiveLifeOutsideChallenge. All you have to do is show us how you are connecting with your outdoor spaces to be eligible to win some incredible prizes. Want to learn more? Visit giveaway.trugreen.com for more details! For now, let’s talk about why spending time outside improves your mental health and what you can start doing right now!

Cognitive Benefits

During your day-to-day routines, do you find yourself feeling drained or easily distracted? For those of us who work from home, this is especially common. While there are a number of things that play into your ability to focus, the impact of your environment is significant. 

There are countless studies suggesting that connection with outdoor spaces improves working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attentional control. One Australian study found that people with access to a view of nature or greenery had significantly higher performance in memory tasks. While another study revealed that people who listened to nature sounds such as crickets chirping and ocean waves performed significantly higher in cognitive tests than those exposed to urban noises like traffic or street noise.

So, if you need a little midday pick-me-up to help boost your productivity, try stepping into your backyard or taking your work outside for a little while.

Happiness and Stress

Stress levels across the country have been on the rise for years. In fact, from generation to generation stress levels have been increasing year over year at a steady rate. Long-term or chronic stress has been linked to physical and emotional problems as well as strenuous mental health conditions such as depression. 

Each of these individually can impact somebody’s overall happiness and wellbeing. Unfortunately, most people aren’t sure how to combat stress and try to do it with things e such as overworking, isolation, and more. For successful stress intervention, you’ll need to implement mindfulness practices and moments of reflection into your daily routine. 

Lucky for you and your mental health, mindfulness can be as easy as stepping into your own backyard. Spending time in nature has a calming effect on your body and can relax your nervous system from high-alert to resting. Even ten short minutes outside each morning before starting your day can help to diminish the overwhelming feelings of stress.

How You Can Live Life Outside

Spending time outside doesn’t need to be a big ordeal like packing a picnic and driving to a nearby park or going on several-mile  hikes that leave you feeling physically depleted. Truthfully, it can be as easy as stepping onto your back porch and enjoying your morning coffee with the sunrise or taking your working-from-home routine outside for an hour in between meetings.

Creating a natural space where you can relax can feel like a big chore, but tackling it step-by-step can be fairly easy. Some simple things you can start doing right now include:

For more information about TruGreen’s range of lawn care services, call 866.688.6722 or check out the services we offer. 

While spending time outside can help reduce stress, if you are experiencing severe mental health symptoms, we strongly encourage you to seek help from your individual doctor or other health care provider. For additional resources, reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline for free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information services.

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