Do you want to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, feel less tired and more alive?
Experts say a quick way to do all this is to take a 20-minute walk outside or spend other quality time outdoors.It's called nature therapy.
Research on the topic of the invigorating effects of being outside goes back a ways, but the topic is having a resurgence lately.
Harvard Health Letter's blog has a posting titled Spending Time Outdoors is Good for You.
Another Harvard Health blog states that if you are in a sour mood, spending time outside can be beneficial:
Looking for a simple way to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and maybe even improve your memory? Take a walk in the woods.
Benefits of being outside
The Harvard blog says being outside has several benefits :
Your body's production of vitamin D will get a boost from the sunlight. "Studies suggest that this vitamin helps fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks. Limited sun exposure (don't overdo it), supplemented with vitamin D pills if necessary, is a good regimen," the blog states.
You will exercise more. The benefits of exercise are many, including improving heart and lung health, reducing excess weight, building up the muscles that will keep you strong, and boosting your immune system. Plus, sitting at a desk all day is very pathological for many reasons.
You will become happier if you spend time outdoors. "Light tends to elevate people's mood, and there's usually more light available outside than in. Physical activity has been shown to help people relax and cheer up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles," the blog says.
Improve your concentration. "Children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. It might be a stretch to say that applies to adults, but if you have trouble concentrating, outdoor activity may help," Harvard says.
Speed healing from injury or disease. "In one study, people recovering from spinal surgery experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications when they were exposed to natural light. An older study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) helped recovery in the hospital," Harvard says.
Lower stress by going outside
As we mentioned, being outside can reduce stress. Business Insider writes that just having a view of the outdoors at work can result in lower stress and more job satisfaction.
Amos Clifford discusses forest therapy or forest bathing.
Business Insider mentions two studies that cite a reduction in stress levels from being outside :
One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone often used as a marker for stress — than those who spent that time in a city.
In another study, researchers found a decrease in both the heart rates and levels of cortisol of participants who spent time in the forest compared to those in the city.
"Stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy," the researchers concluded.
Banish anxiety, depression, and improve mood
Business Insider says studies have shown a marked mental improvement among those who spend time outside. Depression and anxiety and other mental problems all are eased by spending time in nature.
Couple your outdoor activities with exercise, and you will really find an improvement. Business Insider says:
One study found that walks in the forest were associated with decreased levels of anxiety and bad moods, and another found that outdoor walks could be "useful clinically as a supplement to existing treatments" for major depressive disorder.
"Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood," found an analysis of 10 earlier studies about so-called "green exercise." That review also indicated that "the mentally ill had one of the greatest self-esteem improvements."
The Business Insider article says other studies have found that nature therapy and being outside results in:
A reduction in fatigue
A reduction in inflammation.
A reduction in cancer rates
A lowering of blood pressure
Boosting the immune system
Lowering the risk of early death
Performing better on tasks that require creativity
Protecting eyesight and vision
If you go for a nature walk or spend time at the beach, you might not have a cup of coffee or tea handy. Try some Viter Energy Mints  instead.
The mints have 40 mg of caffeine, are sugar-free and freshen the breath, plus they contain invigorating B vitamins.
Erectile dysfunction. In combination, those are two of the ugliest words known to man. But can caffeine help you get it up?
Science hasn't found the definitive answer to this question, but one study concluded that fewer men who consume caffeine have problems performing. The study said:
Caffeine intake reduced the odds of prevalent ED, especially an intake equivalent to approximately 2-3 daily cups of coffee (170-375 mg/day). This reduction was also observed among overweight/obese and hypertensive, but not among diabetic men. Yet, these associations are warranted to be investigated in prospective studies