Sometimes, it’s the simplest of things that are the hardest to do.
As humans being, we can be complicated sometimes.
For example, many of us know that spending time in nature (i.e. “GreenTime”) is one of the healthiest, smartest thing humans can do, yet, more and more of us are doing it less and less. And it ain’t just kids…it’s teens…and it’s adults as well.
Quick Recap – Here’s some of the benefits that time in nature brings us:
- A 15-minute walk in nature makes most of us feel happier (study)
- We absorb Vitamin D best from the source – the sun, which leads to less osteoporosis, cancers and heart attacks (source)
- Time in nature significantly decreases our stress level blood pressure (more)
- And on and on… there are literally hundreds of studies like this.
There’s No Lack of Evidence…
Numerous books and authors have been preaching how critical the role of nature is in the development of happy, healthy human beings, families and communities. In case your new to this, here are some of the top books:
- E.O. Wilson’s Biophilia
- Richard Louv “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” (or many of his other books)
- Florence Williams “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier”
- Wallace J Nichols “Blue Mind”
Trending Indoors- big time…
Over the past 10-20 years we’re seeing HUGE decreases in the amount of time people (esp kids and teens) spend outside. For example, as of 2018, the average American child (ages 6-17) spent 7 MINUTES OUTSIDE and over 7 HOURS ON MEDIA. Let me re-iterate that in larger type:
7 Minutes Outside vs. 7 Hours on Screens
I think alot about this trend. I start asking questions like: “What does this mean for children growing up today?” or “How is this affecting families? Elders?” or “What does this mean for the plight of non-human nature?” The fact is, we don’t know the answer to these questions – just yet.
The first generation of kids born into a world of smartphones is now coming into their teen years and we’re starting to see some disturbing trends:
- Loneliness, Anxiety, Depression & other Mental Health Disorders are skyrocketing for adolescents (source)
- There are some significant developmental impacts on younger children who spend a lot of time on screens. (source)
- Kids in poorer families spend much more time on screens (esp. when younger) than those of wealthier families. (source)
- As for teen brains and mental health, some are reporting that screen time really isn’t a big deal.
Okay…So What Do We Do?
My advice is this.
‘#1) Slow down. Take a breath. Look around.
#2) Think about the problem (We’re spending too much time inside, on human-made technologies designed to stimulate the pleasure centers of our brains. As a result, we’re losing connections to ourselves, each other and to non-human nature).
#3) Trust Your Gut as a Social Animal – Homo sapiens is a gregarious critter …we need human interaction and contact to thrive. And…
#4) Take Action – Get Outside. We gotta make it happen. Every day. For all of us. As long as there’s a safe, outdoor space nearby, plan on getting out there every day for at least 30 mins. Start there – with others! See where it leads you.
Now…Get Outside and let the benefits of “GreenTime” begin for you and your people.
Want to dive deeper into this topic one-on-one with Dan? Click below to set up a free 20-minute call to learn how nature-based consulting can help you.