Go Touch Some Grass – 5 life-changing benefits of going outside

When people say ‘just go outside and touch some grass,’ they might be unaware of just how powerful this advice can be.

Its grass time – Photo by Fauzan Saari

It’s part of the reason the silly little walk trend has incredible benefits.

Studies have found actual benefits from the practice of simply going outside. It’s that simple.

The Meaning of ‘It’s time to touch some grass.’

This is a term commonly used on the internet, basically meaning it’s time to hop offline and get out into the real world.

It’s actually more often than not used as an insult or critique towards another person, telling them to get back to reality and get some fresh air. At times, someone might say it referring to themselves after seeing something unsavory online (Wow, I think it’s time to touch some grass).

In other words, it’s implying to someone that they are spending way too much time online.

Hence, go touch some grass.

Mental Benefits of Being Outside

Being outside has amazing health benefits for the mental wellbeing of individuals! Here are five ways the great outdoors can improve your mental health drastically.

Reduces Stress

Going outside has been linked to a reduction of stress making it great for individuals who just can’t chill.

Studies show that people who are outdoors more have less cortisol and adrenaline levels, well know stress hormones.

Improves Focus

The green landscape of the great outdoors can help improve attention and increase mental clarity.

Studies have found that time outside in nature for children with ADHD can improve concentration when compared to just being outside in the city.

Improves Mood

Individuals that go outside have fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress when compared to individuals that stay indoors.

Improves Creativity

Studies have found that time in nature can help boost creativity and problem-solving capability.

Even going outside to get some fresh air can be the nudge your brain needs to improve critical thinking and find solutions.

Boosts Overall Life Satisfaction

Studies have linked time outside to self-reported benefits as well. Individuals that spend more time outside report a higher life satisfaction than people who do not go outside.

In general movement, especially walks, can lead to a bunch of health benefits as well though just being outside was enough to boost wellbeing!

Photo by Jeffrey Grospe

The Physical Benefits of Being Outside

Not only are there mental health benefits, physically, going outside can do wonders for the body! Here are 5 ways your physical well-being improves.

Raise Immune System

Going outside can help you gain a better immune system! Research shows that children let outside more often experience less illness than children who spent more time indoors, as outdoor kids may be exposed to certain things that help immune function.

Plants, for example, release chemicals such as phytoncides which have been shown to boost immune function.

Lower Blood Pressure

Time outside, looking at nature, or walking, can actually reduce blood pressure by lowering stress-causing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

When we go outside, relaxed and calm, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, the part of the body responsible for calming us.

Increase Vitamin D

Going outside is a great way to activate the production of vitamin D in the body, the sunshine vitamin.

Many individuals, especially at higher latitudes, are deficient in vitamin D, which is an important nutrient that is involved in many functions of the body.

Worldwide, about 1 billion people are deficient in this important vitamin, and in the US, about 42% of adults have insufficient vitamin D levels. Deficiency in this can lead to mental illness, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone loss, and multiple sclerosis. Yikes.

Improve Vision

One study found that individuals that go outside reduced the risk of myopia, nearsightedness. 

Being outside in childhood can be a major risk factor in developing nearsightedness in the future!

Improve Sleep

Being outside can help re-calibrate your internal circadian clock, particularly the light-dependent one that relies on melatonin.

Melatonin is part of your sleeping waking cycle, whose production and release are dependent on light exposure.

The Benefits of Going Offline

What do you mean being online can have negative affects on me?

It’s true! And as someone who works online I know them well.

Being on the computer for too long can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some ways going offline can help you today!

This is not touching grass. The opposite really – Photo by Christin Hume

Improved Self Esteem

Turning off the computer and spending time for yourself can improve self-esteem drastically. When we’re exposed to too much social media, filters, and photoshop, we tend to distress at our life not being as perfect as others.

Social media tends to show only the best parts of life, distorting what real life is actually like.

Improved Posture

When we are at our computer, we tend to adopt a posture that is slouched, which can lead to back pain and poor posture, even cousin headaches, and a sore body.

Every hour you are at your desk, try to take a break (cough, go touch some grass), go outside, or at least stand and stretched the arms up, straightening the spine.

Reduced Stress

Studies have found that being online or using technology can lead to increased stress hormones such as cortisol.

Turning off the laptop or phone can help reduce this hormone and relax the body from constant stimulation.

Improved Eye Health

When we stare at a screen, we tend to blink much less than normal. This can result in dry, irritated eyes and reduced eye health.

Improved Mood

Being offline can help you chill more. No need to rage at the opinions of others, no need to compare, no need to expose yourself constantly to things that reduce your wellbeing.

Take breaks for yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

The Takeaway

I think we can all benefit from going outside and touching some grass.

There are mental, physical, and emotional benefits to going outside, looking at trees, and turning off the internet for a while.

Remember that wellbeing is a journey, it starts with a single step.

Take time to create small habits that benefit you exponentially. And ironically, as I finish this sentence, I think it’s time for me to touch grass too.

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