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Find Your Relief and Rediscover the Outdoors

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Sara Butler

Find Your Relief and Rediscover the Outdoors

The world is a busy place. Each day, you’re likely rushing from one task to the next, often indoors and without time to exhale.

The rat race often can’t be avoided, but you can help create balance in your life by taking a breath and getting outside to rediscover the outdoors.

What does that mean? It’s different for everyone but the common theme is going outside and utilizing techniques to help you relax and unplug from the hustle and bustle. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and purchase a 40-foot RV. Heck, that wouldn’t be roughing it, would it?

There are many ways, often free, in which you can find your relief and rediscover the outdoors -- all while staying safe.

Are There Techniques or Exercises to Maximize Relaxation?

There are several techniques and exercises you can practice to maximize relaxation and relieve stress. Some effective methods include the following.

Deep Breathing - Practice deep breathing exercises to activate the body's relaxation response and calm the nervous system. You can easily practice diaphragmatic by taking a breath in through your nose and expanding your belly fully in the process, then breathing out slowly and controlled through your mouth.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) - PMR consists of tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body to release tension and promote relaxation. Start by tensing one muscle group (like your fists) for a few seconds, then release and relax the muscles completely. Repeat this process with different muscle groups throughout your body.

Mindfulness Meditation - Practice mindfulness meditation to improve awareness at the moment and reduce stress. Find a quiet and calm space, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your breath, bodily sensations, or sounds in your environment. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to the present moment.

Yoga - Yoga combines movement, breathwork, and mindfulness for stress relief and relaxation. Choose gentle yoga sequences or restorative yoga poses that focus on stretching, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques to calm the mind and release tension from the body. Some of the best things about yoga is that there are ways to modify poses for each ability level, from beginner to advanced.

Nature Walks - Spend time outdoors in nature to recharge yourself and reduce stress. Take easy walks in natural settings such as parks, forests, or along the beach, paying attention to the sights, sounds, and sensations of the world around you. If you opt for rugged trails in the wilderness, take along a first-aid kit in a fanny pack.

Experiment to find what works best for you to relax and relieve stress. Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can help you manage stress more effectively and improve your sense of calm and wellness.

What Is Nature Bathing?

You’re probably thinking that there’s no way you’re going to start bathing outside, but don’t worry! Nature bathing isn’t exactly what it sounds like.

Nature bathing, also known as forest bathing or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, involves immersing yourself in nature and mindfully experiencing the sights, sounds, and sensations of the natural world. It is a form of mindfulness that emphasizes connecting with nature to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being.

Forest bathing usually involves strolls through natural environments such as forests, parks, or other green spaces. During nature bathing, people are encouraged to engage their senses fully and mindfully observe their surroundings, including the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the natural environment.

The practice of nature bathing is based on the belief that spending time in nature has numerous physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. Studies show that spending time in natural settings can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, improve mood, boost immune function, and enhance cognitive performance.

How Can You Reconnect With Nature?

Now that the benefits of reconnecting with nature have been presented, the question you may be asking is how you can do it. Some ways to reconnect with nature include these easy steps.

Spending Time Outdoors - It’s simple but true: all you need to do is spend time outside on a regular basis. You can go for a hike, take a walk, or go to the beach. Being in nature can help you feel more grounded and connected to the natural world.

Unplugging from Technology - Take a break from screens and digital devices to minimize distractions and fully engage with nature. Leave your phone behind or set it to airplane mode to disconnect so you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the outdoors.

Gardening - Digging in the dirt can be quite therapeutic and a great way to connect with nature. Whether you have a backyard garden, a community plot, or a few houseplants, gardening can provide a sense of accomplishment and connection to the natural world.

Visiting Nature Landmarks - Explore natural landmarks in your little corner of the world, such as mountains, waterfalls, caves, or coastlines. There’s a great big world out there to appreciate!

What Is Grounding or Earthing?

Grounding, also known as earthing, involves connecting with the earth's natural energy by physically touching or being near the ground. The concept is based on the idea that the earth's surface has a subtle electrical charge, and by grounding ourselves, we can absorb this energy and experience different health benefits.

There are several ways to practice grounding. If you want to give it a try, consider these options.

Walk barefoot - Walking barefoot on natural surfaces such as grass, sand, soil, or even concrete can allow direct contact with the earth.

Lying or sitting on the ground - Spending time sitting or lying directly on the ground, whether it's in a park, on the beach, or in your backyard, allows for grounding and connection with the earth's energy.

Proponents of grounding believe that it can have some of these various health benefits.

Reduced inflammation - Grounding is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, as it may neutralize excess positive ions in the body and reduce free radicals, which are associated with inflammation and oxidative stress.

Improved sleep - Some people report that grounding can help improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and regulating circadian rhythms.

Increased energy levels - Grounding is said to promote a sense of vitality and well-being by enhancing the flow of energy in the body and reducing fatigue.

Pain relief - Grounding may help alleviate chronic pain by reducing inflammation, promoting relaxation, and improving blood flow.

While there is anecdotal evidence supporting the benefits of grounding, scientific research on the topic is still being explored, and more studies are needed to fully understand its effects on health. Still, many people find grounding to be a simple and enjoyable practice that helps them feel more connected to the earth and promotes a sense of relaxation and wellness.

Luckily, connecting with nature and participating in outdoor activities is easy and, in most cases, completely free. So, get up and go outside right now to take a look at the world around you. It may just fill you with a sense of peace and relaxation you didn’t know you needed. Where will you go on your next outdoor adventure?

And if you find that a night sleeping on the ground has left you with a crick in your neck or feeling stiff in the back, your partners in health at The Joint Chiropractic are happy to help restore your range of motion and return you to your optimal self.

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