There’s been a lot of buzz since Richard Louv coined the phrase “Nature Deficit Disorder” in his book Last Child in the Woods . Nature Deficit Disorder is a general term for the side effects – like anxiety, depression and obesity – of spending too little time in nature. And it’s not just kids that are suffering from NDD – adults are so plugged in to the virtual world these days, we’re missing out on the wonders of the natural world.
Humans are hard-wired to love nature – seeing it, smelling it, just being in it stimulates all our senses and gives us joy. And research shows nature’s therapeutic effects, lowering blood pressure, slashing stress and boosting immune function. Time we spend in nature even makes us more caring and compassionate. The more we get outdoors, the more we realize that our own health is intertwined with the health of our environment.
If you’re having a tough time “getting out more,” take a cue from Todd Christopher of Green Hour. He recommends a one-hour daily dose of outdoors for healthier, happier kids. But this prescription applies to all ages, so get out there and get your green on:
Hit the trails on two feet, or two wheels. Invest in items to up your adventure factor, like binoculars, books on local flora and fauna, or a handy nature app.
Cultivate your green thumb. Start a garden with your favorite flowers, fruits and vegetables. Share your bounty with family and friends, or give back to Mother Nature by creating a National Wildlife Federation certified habitat in your own backyard.
Rethink your vacation. Consider a day trip or vacation to one of 398 glorious National Parks
“Park” close to home... You don’t need an exotic destination to fill the nature prescription – any town park or playground with a decent patch of greenery will do.
…and “park” at home. Maximize your nature fix by bringing the outdoors in. Many beautiful indoor varieties of houseplants also detox the air. A windowsill herb garden is a snap to grow and maintain. And some choice ambient nature sounds can temporarily transform your home office or bedroom into soothing rainforest.
How do you get your green on?