Spending just 20 minutes connecting with nature can help lower stress hormone levels, according to a study in the April 4, 2019, Frontiers in Psychology. Previous research has shown that interacting with nature reduces stress, but it is not clear how long and how often the engagement needs to be, or even what kind of nature experience is best.
Here, researchers asked 36 people to spend 10 minutes or longer, three days a week for eight weeks, in an outdoor place where they could interact with nature. The settings varied from yards to public parks to green areas near their place of work. They also either walked or sat during their nature time.
Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were measured from saliva samples taken before and after nature outings. The people also were instructed to not exercise beforehand and to avoid unrelated stimuli like social media, phone calls, conversations, and reading.
Spending at least 20 to 30 minutes immersed in a nature setting was associated with the biggest drop in cortisol levels. After that time, additional stress-reduction benefit accrued more slowly. Time of day and specific settings didn’t affect stress levels. So the next time you need to de-stress or just work on your mental well-being, find a nature setting you enjoy and spend some time there.
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Psalm 1:1-6 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; …
John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Recommended contacts for prayer request and Bible study