By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
March 29, 2021
Back when my kids were little, they wanted a treehouse. Well, we lived in North Miami Beach at the time, and it’s really difficult to find an old oak tree to build a treehouse down here. But I had a copse of palm trees in the backyard.
Guess what I did?
I built a “next to the tree” tree house – so the kids could have a house within the trees.
We also had a small lagoon pool with a waterfall. So in the next copse of palm trees, I put in an outdoor showerhead. That way my family and our guests could shower out in nature whenever we got in or out of the pool.
And I can tell you one thing. Everyone who spent time out in that yard felt a lot better at the end of the day than they did at the beginning!
I love trees and nature. They have such remarkable benefits. Trees and greenery fight depression, reduce stress and improve your mood. (And seriously, who doesn’t need a big dose of happiness and stress-relief these days? After more than a year of dealing with the pandemic, we can all use a boost.)
But the benefits go well beyond your mental health and sense of wellbeing.
Being around trees and nature helps improve blood pressure, significantly reduces your chances of type 2 diabetes and improves your immune response. Plus, it helps decrease sympathetic nervous activity, which is activated during the flight-or-fight response – a response we all go through more frequently than we realize.
I recommend going outside and enjoying nature as often as you can. But there’s even more you can do to get the health benefit of trees and greenery.
Here’s something I bet will surprise you.
Just Looking at Greenery and Trees can do this!
Did you know that when hospitalized patients have a view of outside greenery and trees, they leave the hospital around three days sooner than patients without a view? They also have lower levels of pain and take fewer potent pain medications while they’re hospitalized.
Plus, patients exposed to greenery have less stress and anxiety during their hospital stay.
Did you know that? I think it’s amazing.
But that doesn’t mean you should just go to the window and look out at nature. Bring it inside, too.
I have greenery in my office. I have greenery in my house. I even have fresh cut flowers in my home, along with stunning Ansel Adams photographs of spring flowers blooming in the mountains.
All of these touches of nature make my home feel like it’s more than just four walls and some furniture. And it makes it very easy for me to shake off any lingering stress and anxiety after a long, hard day at work.
There are so many ways you can bring nature into your house.
Adding more potted plants is an obvious first step. You can start an herb garden in your kitchen or dining room window. Decorate your walls with scenes of nature. Open the curtains and let the sun in. Whenever there’s a beautiful day that’s not too hot or too cold, open up the windows for some fresh air.
But don’t stop there.
Make Your Home a Natural Stress-Free Oasis
You can also bring nature into your house by listening to the sounds of it. For example, when I go to bed at night, I like to have Alexa play cricket noises or rain. Anything from nature works; birds, ocean waves, waterfalls, bubbling streams… the list is endless.
These soundscapes don’t just make it easier for me to fall asleep, they also make it easier for me to stay asleep.
And there’s one more thing.
If you want an even more immersible experience, add natural scents to your home with essential oils.
Aromatherapy is a great stress reliever and most people find it helps to relax them. Essential oils with cypress, spruce, pine, juniper berry and other outdoor scents can add to the feeling of being outdoors even though you’re inside your own home.
In today’s world, keeping your stress and anxiety levels in check is more important than ever. And what better way to do it than with nature?
Astell-Burt, et al. Association of Urban Green Space With Mental Health and General Health Among Adults in Australia. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(7):e198209.
Yang B, et al. Community greenness, blood pressure, and hypertension in urban dwellers: The 33 Communities Chinese Health Study. Environment International. Volume 126, May 2019, Pages 727-734.
Bodicoat DH, et al. The association between neighbourhood greenspace and type 2 diabetes in a large cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2014;4:e006076.
Tsunetsugu Y, et al. Physiological and psychological effects of viewing urban forest landscapes assessed by multiple measurements. Landscape and Urban Planning. Volume 113, May 2013, Pages 90-93.
Ulrich RS. View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science. 1984 Apr 27;224(4647):420-1.
Park S, et al.Therapeutic Influences of Plants in Hospital Rooms on Surgical Recovery. HortScience. Volume 44, Issue 1, Feb 2009, Pages 201-105.