Do you have NDD?

According to a recent survey seventy-five percent of children spend less time outside than the average prison inmate.

Yes, that means Bernie Madoff gets more fresh air than most kindergarteners. Adults aren’t any better. On average, Americans spend 87% of the time indoors and 6% in an enclosed vehicle, probably with the windows up.

There is a cost to all this time spent between four walls. The disconnection from the natural world leads to what author Richard Louv describes as Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD):

Nature-deficit disorder is not a formal diagnosis, but a way to describe the psychological, physical and cognitive costs of human alienation from nature.

The good news is that the cure for NDD is just outside your door.

Here are 6 reasons to get outside more:

1. It calms the mind

Negative thoughts and rumination decrease when people spend time in the great outdoors. Nature provides a positive distraction from endless worry and obsessive rehashing of all the things that went wrong or could go wrong.

2. It improves mood

Nature lifts the spirits and buffers against depression. Taking a walk in the park is especially helpful. The mental health benefits of walking in a natural setting were not observed in those who walked down city streets.

3. It boosts concentration

If your mind is wandering and you cannot seem to get any work done, head to the park. Nature restores mental energy and improves focus. Studies show it also helps reduce symptoms of ADHD in children.

4. It reduces stress

Fresh air is a natural stress reducer and the perfect antidote for the daily grind.

5. It increases awe

When the beauty of the natural world takes your breath away, you become nicer. In a study, people who were asked to look up at a magnificent tree for 60 seconds were more likely to experience awe than those who look at a building of the same height. They were also more likely to help a stranger.

6. It is good for your heart

People who visited a park for just 30 minutes each week were less likely to have high blood pressure. Researchers theorize it switches the body out of “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest mode.”

A dose of nature is just what the doctor ordered.

I wish you all the best,

Dr. Samantha Boardman