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4 Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors With Family

4 Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors With Family

In the last few decades, children are spending less and less time outdoors and more time cooped-up inside. You may remember playing outside until dinnertime as a child. More than ever, with all the technological distractions, it is important to encourage your family to spend time outside together. T

There are many proven benefits of outdoor activities on your children’s development. In addition, sharing outdoor activities together also strengthens your family bond. Whether it is planning a day trip to a state park or spending time in your own backyard, it makes no difference where you go, as long as you are outside.

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    1. It helps the whole family unplug

    In this technological age, it is hard to have some quality family time without someone being attached to their smartphone, tablet or laptop. I know from personal experience that my family (including myself) can spend a whole day glued to our various gadgets and only come up for air during mealtimes.

    Spending time in nature is a great remedy to combat being gadget dependent for everyone in your family. Plan a day trip to somewhere that has limited reception and then declare that this trip is gadget free. You may hear some opposition, but once you get to the destination, everyone will be too busy looking out the window to remember to complain.

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      2. It can aid in reducing your child’s ADHD symptoms

      An increasingly popular alternative treatment for children with ADHD is a technique called “green time” or “green space therapy.” This method simply involves playing outdoors or activities that take place anywhere outside, whether it is a park or backyard. Environmental scientist believe that a child can increase their attention span by being in an environment that reduces many of the distractions that normally occur in their day to day life.

      The American Journal of Public Health conducted a study which required them to interview 452 children with ADHD and their parents. The parents were asked whether the child’s attention changed depending on environmental settings, including indoor versus outdoor. It turns out that no matter the child’s age, where they lived or how severe their ADHD was, their symptoms improved when they were outdoors. Having a child with an attention disorder can be difficult, but spending time outdoors is a helpful solution that you both can enjoy.

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        3. It can help everyone relieve stress

        In a study published in Landscape and Urban Planning, the stress hormone cortisol was measured in 25 Scottish adults. The subjects were asked questions about their daily lives and what stressed them out at home and at work. The results showed that adults living in greener spaces were less likely to be prone to daily stressors in their lives in comparison to their urban-dwelling counterparts.

        I know that when my family and I spend the day outdoors, we are less likely to be snappy at one another and instead enjoy each other’s company. Another contributing factor is that spending time outdoors usually requires some physical activity, whether it is walking or hiking. Exercise has been known to be one of the leading techniques for stress reduction and is a win-win situation for you and your family.

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          4. It can boost everyone’s Vitamin D levels

          It is estimated that over 85 percent of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Increasing your Vitamin D levels can help prevent chronic illnesses like cancer. Vitamin D also helps ward off everyday illnesses, like colds and the flu. The primary way we get our Vitamin D is by exposure to direct sunlight. You can tell a significant difference in your family’s overall physical health when you spend time outdoors, since there is noticeably less sneezing and coughing from all members.

          Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

          If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

          1. Breathe

          The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

          • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
          • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
          • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

          Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

          2. Loosen up

          After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

          Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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          3. Chew slowly

          Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

          Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

          Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

          4. Let go

          Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

          The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

          It’s not. Promise.

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          Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

          Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

          21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

          5. Enjoy the journey

          Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

          Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

          6. Look at the big picture

          The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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          Will this matter to me…

          • Next week?
          • Next month?
          • Next year?
          • In 10 years?

          Hint: No, it won’t.

          I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

          Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

          7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

          You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

          Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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          8. Practice patience every day

          Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

          • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
          • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
          • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

          Final thoughts

          Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

          Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

          Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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