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As tempting as it may be to sit down after the end of a long work day and watch the newest season of Orange is the New Black, Bloodline, or another one of the addictive TV series Netflix seems to be endlessly producing, studies consistently show that getting outside and taking in the sights and sounds of nature can have the positive effect we’re actually looking for when we plop down on the couch.

Tonight when you go home consider this. Netflix will be there later but the sunlight is fading fast. Here are some great benefits that nature can give you that Netflix can’t:

  • It improves your mental health: A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) suggests people might need a minimum “dose of nature.” The study found that people who visited parks for 30 minutes or more each week were less likely to have poor mental health than those who don’t.
  • It reverses physical symptoms of stress: When you’re stressed it’s not just your mind that’s feeling the effects of it. Being in a stressful environment can elevate your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension and can also suppress your immune system. Going outside can help to reverse these effects.
  • It helps to break the cycle of rumination: When we’re sad or troubled we often have repeated thoughts about what’s causing it. If rumination continues for too long, it can turn into depressive thoughts. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a short nature walk helped reduce rumination in mental healthy people.

At the end of a long day, it might seem like the perfect excuse to sit down, unwind, and watch TV but if you’re looking to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety, stop the negative stream of thoughts in your head, or boost your physical health, opt for taking a 30 minute walk in nature instead.