(spoiler alert!) Get 20 minutes of fresh air daily.
Just 20 minutes. And you don’t even have to be exercising!
Getting out under the sky helps you put things in perspective and find solutions to any problems that might be nagging at you. Heck, even dog trainers know that working a dog outside helps him understand and internalize the lessons better.
Are you a dog person? I have had Siberian Huskies all of my adult life, and we’ve played some fun dog sports – conformation, obedience, agility, rally, pack-hiking, barn hunt and even canine musical freestyle (dancing with your dog.) Almost without exception, every trainer we’ve worked with preferred to work outside, saying that dogs learn better when they are literally “out of the box,” meaning they have no roof over their head.
I researched whether this might be true for people, too, and it appears that it is. In his book, Cognitive and Affective Learning in Outdoor Education, Dennis Eaton shared his research findings: students’ learning and reasoning abilities are better developed outside the classroom than in. Additionally, in a large-scale California study, the students whose curriculum was taken outdoors scored higher in standardized tests on everything from science and math to language – even attendance improved.
Seems like everything’s better outside!
Still not convinced? How about this – serotonin is released when you’re out in nature and hear nature’s sounds, elevating happiness. Dopamine is released when you perform a repetitive action, like walking, elevating happiness. Endorphins are released during even light exercise, like walking, elevating happiness. That’s three of the body’s four “happiness” neurotransmitters. That’s a lot of happiness fire-power!
So give yourself the gift of 20 minutes of outdoor time, especially when you feel stressed. Let Mother Nature lift your spirits.
Want to share what makes you happier? I’d love to hear it – please email me at sandy (at sign) sandy j weaver (dot) com.