Put nature to work fighting your stress

Counseling Corner
Graphic by Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner

 

American Counseling Association

 

Yes, we live in a pretty stressful world these days. Whether it’s international events, job pressures, or personal problems, most of us are touched by plenty of stress-producing situations every day.

Though we may not be aware of the ways stress is affecting us, it can actually harm us. Experts report that stressful environments can be a direct cause of anxiety and depression in our lives. Studies have found that excessive stress may be at least partly responsible for headaches, drinking problems and a variety of serious health issues.

So how can you better manage the stress in your life?  While it may not be possible in today’s hectic world to live a stress-free existence, there ways you can minimize the stress you may be feeling and to escape from it for at least a little bit. Researchers report that even small escapes from stress can offer real benefits.

Distractions are one way to reduce stress. Studies have found that adding a little nature to your life can be quite stress reducing. Researchers say that people working in an office with no windows or just a view of a blank wall reported that the work environment became more pleasant and less stressful when they were able to look out and see a trees and sky. Something as simple as adding a potted plant or two to the area where you spent most of your day can also play a part in giving you a positive distraction that can reduce stress.

Even better is just to escape from your normal environment, if only for a short time. And by “escape” we mean nothing more than taking a walk. You can stop thinking about stressful things with just a short lunchtime stroll through a nearby park or down a tree-lined street. Time with nature is an opportunity to not focus on the things contributing to a hectic, stressful life. You can listen to the quiet of nature, admire some budding flowers, or just smile at the squirrels scampering about — all things to take the focus off what is stressing you.

A little time outdoors is an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty around you and take a breather from the problems disturbing you. A short walk won’t remove all the stress in your life, but it can give your mind a chance to relax and refocus, and that’s a positive thing.

 

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Comments and questions can be sent to acacorner@counseling.org or visit http://www.counseling.org.

 

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