Finding calm is something many people hope for as they go about their busy, and often stressful, lives. A little peace, a little quiet — we know life would be easier, and we’d feel better, if we could just find a way to turn down the internal volume. Well, scientists agree. And it turns out that they’ve discovered a new “vitamin” that increases tranquility, mental energy and physical calm. This new discovery is vitamin G.
What is vitamin G?
“Vitamin G” is a term coined by researchers to describe — and emphasize — the healthful effects of spending time in nature. According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, “G” stands for green.; specifically, the “effects of green space on health, well-being, and social safety.” But I like to think of vitamin G as also standing for “garden” and “the great outdoors.”
Lower stress levels
Many studies have shown that nature has a calming effect on the human psyche. Researchers at Ohio State University, for example, found that “nature can be an antidote to stress.” Even a drive on a scenic highway can be calming compared to being in normal city traffic. Whether picnicking at a park, reading a book in a garden, or hiking through a majestic forest, time spent in nature is time well-spent indeed.
How can I get more Vitamin G?
When you’re stressed, trying to add time out of doors to your busy schedule may seem like just another chore. It’s true that a long, relaxed walk in a natural setting, with a wonderful diversity of plants, birds and butterflies greeting your every step, may not always be practical. But there still are ways to boost your vitamin G intake by tucking some time in nature into your other activities.
Maybe it works for you to sit outside while you have your coffee. Or to read that book under a shady tree instead of holed up indoors. Or maybe you’ll find that impromptu picnicking in a pretty green spot does it all: provides quality time with friends and family, serves up plenty of vitamin G, and takes care of mealtime to boot. Watch for opportunities to get out in the great outdoors. If we look for them, they will present themselves in ways large and small.
Finding calm in nature
Time in green spaces has a very restful effect. It enhances mental and physical health and increases our sense of well-being. It is a welcome and feasible way to counter stress. Vitamin G is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. And, especially when you feel stressed, it’s actually a good thing to head for (the proverbial) hills.
*** More on stress relief and the great outdoors: The Surprising Health Benefits of Picnicking.
“Vitamin G: effects of green space on health, well-being, and social safety,” National Institutes of Health.
“Natural Scenes Calm Drivers More Than City Views, Study Finds,” Ohio State University Research News.Vitamin G has wonderful health benefits — stress relief, mental energy, physical calmLook for ways to tuck time out-of-doors into your regular activities, even just a coffee breakCasual, impromptu picnicking combines Vitamin G with the stress relief benefits of social eating