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The annual report reminds everyone of the power of fresh air.

The Global Wellness Summit is a conference where experts and visionaries from all parts of the world gather to solve shared problems. Each year representatives convene to discuss movements that are transforming the $4.5 trillion wellness industry — culminating discussion materials into the top eight trend reports.

Meditation, fashion, tourism, nutrition, and end-of-life-care are addressed in the 2019 trend report with an emphasis on individualized, conscious approaches that are redefining how consumers experience day-to-day activities and major milestones. One trend that stood out is “Prescribing Nature” — a research-backed theory that our physical and mental wellbeing is dependent on association with nature.

The need for nature interactions is imperative, especially with new generation factors, such as a rising global population, more people settling in urban environments, and a digitally connected, technology-driven world.

Here are three compelling reasons why our minds are better with nature, and how this trend has legs to continue long into the new decade and beyond.

  • Enhanced peace of mind – “Exposure to nature may also engage what has been termed the “default mode” networks of the brain, which emerging literature suggests may be important for peak psychosocial health. The default mode network is a set of brain areas that are active during restful introspection and that have been implicated inefficient performance on tasks requiring frontal lobe function such as the divergent thinking task used here. On a hike or during exposure to natural stimuli that produce soft-fascination, the mind may be more able to enter a state of introspection and mind wandering which can engage the default mode. Interestingly, engaging the default mode has been shown to be disrupted by multimedia use, which requires an external attentional focus, again pointing to the possibility that natural environments such as those experienced by the current participants may have both removed a cost (technology) and added a benefit (activation of brain systems that aid divergent thinking),” wrote researchers, Ruth Atchley, David Strayer, and Paul Atchley, for PLOS ONE journal. Brain benefits include less stress, restored mental energy, improved short term memory, better cognition, and more creativity.
  • Green exercise is more beneficial – Everything from going for walks to practicing yoga outdoors — the possibilities are truly infinite, and the benefits of exercise are amplified in outdoor environments. Green exercise lowers blood pressure, decreases depression, and improves creativity.
  • Connectivity to our planet – When people move outside, technology and other distractions are muted, enforcing a greater connection to the surrounding environment. This in-the-moment consciousness fuels more awareness of things like environmental impact, enhancing people’s feelings of connectivity and investment to planetary care.

Nature prescriptions offer better mind-body benefits and bring our awareness back to the cycle of nourishment derived from the Earth. Whether prescribed or chosen, more time in nature is the most simple and effective thing to living a richer human experience.