June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Sharon Merriman-Nai discusses this often invisible form of trauma, where to find help, and how we...
Wellness Wednesday Tip: Connecting with Nature
Welcome to the fourth Wellness Wednesday in honor of Trauma Awareness Month. We hope these tips provide you with ideas and resources to build your resilience. This week’s tips highlight ways that connecting with nature promotes well-being and resilience and can reduce stress, anxiety and improve health.
According to the recent study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, nature gazing, even in the city increases your level of happiness, connectedness and overall well-being. It automatically connects to human psychology and creates certain changes in our performances and the patterns that we rely on. Past research has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety. Also, some of the researchers have found that people who live in areas with access to green space live longer and have better mental health.
Spending time in green spaces and gazing at natural rather than man-made objects has various positive effects; some of them are as follows:
- Reduces stress
- Improves mood
- Improves cognitive performance
- Increases the chance to live longer
According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth. Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. The research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological and psychological dysfunction and unwellness. Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons (Earthing or grounding) from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems has been found to result in a number of benefits including:
- promote positive physiological changes and increase subjective reports of well-being
- Signficantly reduce disease causing inflammation in the body
- Improve sleep and reduce pain
There’s good reason why vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin.” The best way to get Vitamin D is through Sunlight. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.
Since Vitamin D is made from cholesterol in the skin, you need to expose lots of skin to the sunlight to make enough. Some scientists recommend exposing around a third of the area of your skin to the sun. According to this recommendation, wearing a tank top and shorts for 10–30 minutes three times per week during the summer should be sufficient for most people. It’s important to note that the sun’s UVB rays cannot penetrate through windows. So people who work next to sunny windows are still prone to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for physical and mental health. For example, it instructs the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus. These two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. On the other hand, low vitamin D levels have been linked to serious health consequences, including: Osteoporosis, Cancer, Depression, Muscle weakness, Death.
In addition, only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D. These include cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, canned tuna, beef liver, egg yolks and sardines. That said, you would need to eat them nearly every day to get enough vitamin D. If you do not get enough sunlight, it’s often recommended to take a supplement like cod liver oil. One tablespoon (14 grams) of cod liver oil contains more than three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin D.