Are you suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder?

Nature Deficit Disorder is a phrase coined by Richard Louv to describe our loss of connection to the natural world. He asserts that this loss affects “health, spiritual well-being, and many other areas, including [the] ability to feel ultimately alive.”

So how does spending time in nature affect us?

 It can ease depression

According to a study from the University of Michigan , group nature walks are linked to enhanced mental health and positivity, as well as significantly lower levels of depression and feelings of stress. Having an emotionally tough time with your family? Grab a friend or your significant other and take a walk in the nearest park. Having a stressful time at work? Gather a group of co-workers and walk around the lake at lunch time.

Don’t have someone willing or able to walk with you? Go alone and you’ll still benefit.

 It may improve outlook

If you dread the thought of spending another workout chained to the treadmill, move your run outdoors for a quick burst of happiness. A study from Glasgow University showed that people who walked, biked, or ran in nature had a lower risk of poor mental health than people who worked out indoors.

It could improve  focus

 According to a study published in Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives your brain a break from everyday overstimulation. This break can have a restorative effect on your attention levels.

It can strengthen immunity

The latest get-healthy pill isn’t found it in your medicine cabinet, it’s in your backyard. Researchers at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School found that women who spent six hours in the woods over the course of two days had an increase in virus- and tumor-fighting white blood cells, and the boost lasted at least seven days afterwards.

Click here for an entertaining take on the benefits of nature.