By Brooke Jones
Countless times, research has proven the many psychological benefits of spending time outdoors and in natural environments. Benefits include reduced stress, tension, depression, anger and fatigue. So how can you reap the benefits when going outdoors is not an option? Here are 6 ways you can incorporate natural elements into your living and work space!
Embrace natural lighting
Turn off the lights and throw back the curtains! Natural sunlight has the ability to reduce strain on your eyes and to improve your mood, so take advantage. If you are limited on windows, consider rearranging your room (ex. place your desk or bed by the window) to make the most of the natural light available.
Not only are they nice to look at, plants also have the ability to improve air quality in your indoor space. Peace lily, Philodendron, Golden Pothos and Spider Plant are a good place to start, as they don’t require much maintenance or sunlight. Don’t have green thumbs? Artificial plants will do too!
Change your screensavers
Break the barrier between nature and technology by choosing a nature-themed wallpaper or screensaver on your phone, computer or iPod. Whether you are on the go or at your desk, you will always be able to enjoy the beauty of the natural environment.
Open your window
Spaces with poor circulation can be prone to having more pollutants and dust in the air making the room feel stagnant and dull. Improve airflow and allow the sounds of the outdoors enter by simply opening your window!
Choose natural colors
Next time you are buying furniture or other appliances, think green! Try to choose natural shapes, colors and materials such as wood, stone, water and natural colors to make your space more comfortable and more enjoyable to spend time in.
Shut down at bedtime
Artificial light from your electronics might be throwing off your biological clock tricking your brain into thinking it is daytime. An important chemical, melatonin, is controlled by this “clock” and is secreted while you sleep. It is extremely important in the way it has anti-cancer effects, and promotes wellbeing, for example. Whether you have the light on for an hour or for just a second, the effect is the same – you will decrease your melatonin levels. So next time you tuck yourself in, give yourself the benefit of turning off your electronics and reap the benefits!
Brooke is a student currently completing her consecutive bachelors of education degree at Queen's University, specializing in Outdoor & Experiential Education. Her previous studies in Kinesiology also support her passion for seeking and promoting positive mental and physical health in the outdoors. In addition to her studies, Brooke is an executive member of the Queen’s University Outdoor's Club and founder of a Parks Canada Campus Club at both Queen's and McMaster University, projects assistant for the Ontario Trails Council, and member of the Queen's University varsity Triathlon and Cycling team.