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
Psalm 11:1 In the LORD I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain;
Psalm 13:1 How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
Psalm 31:1 In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed; In Your righteousness deliver me.
Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.
Psalm 49:1 Hear this, all peoples; Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Psalm 77:1 My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
Psalm 139:1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
Habakkuk 3:19 The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.
Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.
Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
Psalm 45:1 My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Psalm 56:1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
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