The Healing Power of Wild Places

Spending time in nature makes us happier, boosts our immune system, and increases our attention span.

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On average, we spend just 5 per cent of our day outside. What effect might that have on our bodies and minds?

Florence Williams spent the last three years writing about our relationship to the natural world—motivated in part by her own move away from a lush natural setting: a view of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to Washington, DC.

In her book, The Nature Fix, she explores the healing power of wild places. Here are three ways spending time in nature impacts our health:

The Health Benefits of a Nature Break

You don’t need to live in a cabin in the woods to soak in all the benefits nature has to offer.

Williams says that within the first five minutes of being outside—be it on a bike ride to work, a walk around the block, or an adventurous hike in the woods—we experience immediate benefits. Our heart rate slows, our muscles start to relax, and regions of the brain involved in decision-making and emotions begins to quiet down.

Within the first five minutes of being outside, we experience immediate benefits.

Having a few minutes of respite in a natural…