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If you are like most Americans you probably spend the majority of your time inside your home working, sleeping or watching TV. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that adults in the United States spend more than 90% of their lives inside some type of enclosed structure.
“Spending time outside makes us feel more alive”
By spending all this time inside it could be causing us to miss out on important benefits linked to communing with the natural environment. Spending time outside makes us feel more alive, according to the last issue of the “Journal of Environmental Psychology”.
The University of Rochester, New York conducted a study on more than 500 college students, suggesting that people feel more energetic when they spend time outdoors as opposed to remaining cooped up in a house. The study suggests that being outdoors in nature was enough to dramatically raise energy levels and produce a greater sense of well-being.
A dramatic boost in self-esteem and well being could be observed in people who only engaged in just five minutes of out-door activities. Sitting outside is good for people, but engaging in any type of physical activity appears to be even more of a health booster.
It is not necessary to travel to far away destinations to be able to enjoy the powerful benefits of nature. Spending time in your own back yard, at the beach or at a public park can be as emotionally restoring as a hike in the wilderness.
Research suggests that these effects even come in handy while you are driving. If you are susceptible to road rage it is helpful to glance at the natural scenery rather than glaring at your fellow commuters. Taking a moment to enjoy the beauty of the blue sky or a forest while driving can lower heart rate and blood pressure leading to a greater sense of calmness in the body’s answer to stress. Scientists found that surgical patients staying in a hospital room with windows overlooking nature views recovered much faster than those patients placed in rooms with windows facing concrete walls.
Office workers who are able to enjoy a view of nature from their work station report improved concentration. Most employers still believe that working in an office without a view will deter employees from daydreaming and therefore are more productive. Several studies prove that office employees who are able to look outside while working seem to experience less work-related stress while enjoying greater satisfaction on the job.
People who do not have access to beautiful views at their jobs can always improvise with photographs and paintings of nature. Many “Feng Shui Consultants” promote pictures and paintings as a Feng Shui Cure. As this is not a Feng Shui Remedy because pictures and paintings do not belong to the Five Elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal), scientists at the University of Rochester came to the conclusion that people who simply imagined themselves being in the natural environment felt significantly energized.
The same is true for adding indoor plants. As small pots of plants, as well as Lucky Feng Shui Bamboo can not be counted as a Feng Shui Cure, Norwegian researchers suggest that by adding plants and color inside a house, apartment, home office or commercial work place the inhabitants will feel less fatigue, experience fewer headaches and minimize “Feng Shui Depression“.