Studies suggest that nature has the ability to help people recover from everyday psychological wear and tear. According to the University of Minnesota, being in nature reduces anger, fear and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature can also reduce your blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.
So, making more time for nature is important for everybody, not just hippies and tree-huggers.
To feel more positive and less angry, stepping into any sort of green space can be beneficial, and this task may not be that difficult for Austinites. Here in Austin we have access to 27,096 park acres, 206 parks, 12 preserves, 26 greenbelts and more than 50 miles of trails within the city limit. Furthermore, Austin has received a few nature-related accolades from several magazines. For instance, Austin was named in Outside magazine’s Best Big Cities for Active Families, Forbes’ Best Cities For The Outdoors, Mother Nature Network’s Top 10 Green U.S. Cities, and The Clymb’s Best Cities for Outdoor Enthusiasts.
There are also many Austin organizations, meet up groups and clubs focused on bringing people together in nature. Members of the Austin Sierra Club for example, get together for a variety of activities like greenbelt walks, wilderness hikes, camping, biking, kayaking and more. Hill Country Outdoors is another nature focused adventure group that mixes the outdoors, sports and socializing. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly nature group, check out Families in Nature, a group striving to connect children and their families to nature and to each other through learning, playing and volunteering outdoors.
Ultimately, nature is a tool you can use when you feel stressed and want some relief. Figure out what type of nature-interaction is convenient and available to you and try building a little bit of green time into your schedule. It may may be the therapy you need for mental, physical, emotional and spiritual rejuvenation. Perhaps, being in nature will result in your next great awakening.