7 Benefits of Nature and Gratitude: A Winning Combination

By Kurt Johnson Photography • November 20, 2023

Spending time in nature, viewing nature images, and practicing gratitude have lots of overlapping benefits.  So many we can’t ignore them.

Focusing on nature and gratitude gives you life-changing results that improve physical and mental well-being.  Definitely something we could all use a little more of in our fast-paced lives.

So here are 7 benefits of nature and gratitude:

1.Stress Reduction

Nature – The sights and sounds of nature have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping lower stress hormones.

Gratitude – Practicing gratitude by writing a thank you card or even just thinking about someone you’re grateful for has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of contentment.

2.Positive Distraction

Nature – Nature images are used in healthcare to help patients focus on something outside of their worries or pain.

Gratitude – Focusing on positive aspects of life can shift your attention away from stressors and onto things that bring you happiness.

3.Enhanced Mental Well-Being

Nature – Time in nature has been linked to improved cognitive function, increased creativity, and a sense of well-being.  It provides a mental break from the demands of daily life.

Gratitude – Cultivating gratitude enhances mental well-being.  It contributes to a positive mindset and gives you greater resilience in the face of challenges.

The sun illuminates the healing landscape of this wide-open field in the Midwest.

4.Better Physical Health

Nature – Outdoor activities promote physical health through exercise and exposure to natural sunlight, giving you a boost of Vitamin D.

Gratitude – Research suggests practicing gratitude improves sleep, immune function, and cardiovascular health.  Not bad considering you don’t even need your workout gear to enjoy the benefits!

5.Mindfulness and Presence

Nature – Nature images provide a break from constant (mostly electronic) stimuli.  Whether you’re outside or just looking at nature images, you become more aware of your surroundings and sensations.

Gratitude – By focusing your attention on a specific person or memory you feel appreciation for, gratitude is a powerful way of bringing you into the present.

6.Social Connection

Nature – Viewing nature images, especially when they’re images local to the area, brings people together through stories and common touchstones like landmarks and familiar flowers and plants.  Nature photographs are great conversation starters that also evoke memories and support connections.

Gratitude –  When you express gratitude it involves acknowledging the positive actions of others, which forges a sense of connection and strengthens bonds.

7.Improved Mood

Nature – Exposure to nature through nature walks or viewing beautiful landscapes has been shown to elevate your mood while decreasing anxiety and depression.

Gratitude – Regularly expressing gratitude is linked to increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction.  It fosters a positive outlook and helps you focus on what you have rather than what you lack.

Nature and gratitude are both transformative in their own way.  Combining them amplifies their effects, fostering a greater sense of balance, contentment, and overall mental and physical health.

And when you share them with those around you, they have ripple effects that spread benefits throughout your community.

Categories: Healing, Research

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