As my school semester comes to a close and the holiday seasons quickly approaches, I can’t help but whine to my boyfriend about all the stresses in my life (as if we all don’t have them and I’m the only one to carry the burden).
Although both men and women suffer from stress in their lives, studies show that women are more emotional when it comes to dealing with stress but also that acute and chronic stress may take a greater toll on womens’ physical and mental health. From weight gain to insomnia to hair loss, women show their symptoms more so than our male counterparts.
What does this have to do with my blog about women and the outdoors? The outdoors can help. Even smelling the outdoors may help.
Being outside raises our serotonin levels which help to regulate our moods. The more serotonin, the more satisfied and happy we feel. If you have ever heard of what they call a “runner’s high,” this neurotransmitter is responsible. A study suggested that women who run outside are less likely to feel anxious than those running on a treadmill and are more likely to experience higher levels of post-exercise endorphins, or happy-feel brain chemicals.
Operation patients with an outdoor view are less likely to feel as much pain and experience faster healing than those spending fewer days gazing on the green scene.
Not only does the sight of green help with the healing process, but the smell of grass was found to have a significant calming effect on out-of-control drivers. If it works for drivers, it can work for women outside.
In a society where relaxation is considered a nap on the couch still holding a remote or a date with our Netflix account, taking a walk outside, working out in the outdoors or taking a moment to reap the benefits of the aromatic therapy that can be provided by pines and other plants can be just as beneficial.
Studies show that finding your center can help reduce the stress in your life. The outdoors provides women with a full body experience of a breeze blowing through hair, the smell of grass and dirt at their noses and the sun on their skin.
So before you let yourself freak out about all the tasks you must complete, the papers you must write, that pile of papers to organize on your desk, allow yourself a moment of serenity by taking advantage of what is free and what is natural: the outdoors.
For more information about reducing stress in the outdoors, check out this awesome article on Huffington Post: http://www.athleta.net/2011/02/23/reduce-stress-in-the-great-outdoors/