First off, what is an “environmental identity” and why is it important?
Coined by Susan Clayton, the term refers to a “socially constructed self-concept” exploring how one views oneself in relation to the natural world. It explores the notion that part of our identity is tied back to some part of the “nonhuman” natural environment, based on “personal experience, emotional attachment, and similarity”. It is proven that your environmental identity is associated with your overall well-being. Meaning that individuals who are strongly connected to nature are likely to have healthier psychological well-being (greater self-acceptance), and social well-being (social integration). Here’s 5 ways being outside is good for your overall health and wellbeing.
1. Encourages Happiness + Reduces Likelihood of Depression
In 2007, researchers at the University of Essex found that in a group of people suffering from depression, 90 percent felt an increased level of self-esteem after a walk outdoors, and almost 75% felt less depressed. Another study conducted by the same research team concluded that 94% of people with mental illnesses found that contact with nature put them in a happier mood. This is why “nature” is being prescribed by medical professionals across the world to improve and treat a slew of mental health issues like depression, addiction, anxiety, and PTSD.
2. Provides a Sense of Safety and Belonging
It’s unsurprising that nature has such therapeutic properties when you consider that the human race has been dependent on it for all of our existence. Given the increase of man-made environments, contact with green spaces is often more limited- therefore time outdoors provides us with a feeling of homecoming. We crave the outdoors in the same way that a child needs a mother and experience the same feeling of comfort from it.
3. Boosts Your Immune System
Inhaling phytoncides (organic compounds produced by plants) increases our levels of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell), helping us fight off infections and diseases by killing tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies.
4. Aids with Stress Relief and Concentration
Exposure to natural scenery has been proven to lower cortisol levels and decrease your heart rate. When living in a city, your brain is used to receiving and processing an incredible number of stimuli, constantly. Being removed from the “hustle and bustle” of city life and entering a natural setting gives your brain (and eyes) a break from the overwhelming amount of information it’s used to deciphering.
5. Increases Nutrient Absorption
Getting outside is necessary to be able to absorb important nutrients from the sun, such as vitamin D (a.k.a. The “Sunshine Vitamin”). The winter months can keep you stuck inside for several months out of the year, so there’s no time like summer to get outside and soak up some vitamin D! Vitamin D is incredibly important due to its ability to help fight off a multitude of illnesses, such as cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
Next time you need some fresh air, join our lease-to-own program so that you can have access to the top-of-the-line gear that you’ve always wanted at an affordable weekly payment. Once you submit your application and are approved, we will ship out your brand-new equipment that day (provided it is in stock) so you can get out there and start killing it!