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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

New Research: 5 Minutes Outside Can Boost Your Self-Esteem and Mood

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: May 4th 2010

happy walkerIn earlier posts I've written about the mental health impact of interacting with nature. In one post I wrote about a study that showed mental health benefits for the elderly or cared for plants. In another post I asked you to consider the benefits of eco-altruism and gave ideas on how to get engaged. Recently, on Earth day I posed 3 questions to consider in respect to this planet. However, a new study in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology recently came out that showed that spending just 5 minutes a day in a natural setting can have significantly positive effects on our mood and self-esteem.

While this may seem too good to be true, it doesn't surprise me. I've written before about a national research study I conducted that had people do 5 minutes a day of a mindfulness-related practice and measured it against a control group who just did journaling (an established psychotherapeutic intervention). My data showed a significant improvement in stress reduction and various aspects of well-being over the course of a few weeks. In addition, interviews provided me with the single most valuable experience from those who improved the most and that was having a sense of connection.

Spending 5 minutes a day outside in nature can facilitate that feeling of mindfulness and connection. It can also provide a needed spaciousness from the enclosed office space.

Now we need to take in any research with a grain of salt as there are always ways to pick it a part. However, the most important thing is our personal experiences.

In other words, the proof is in the pudding. (Originally: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." Meaning, the true value of something can only be judged when put to use).

So what about it?

How about taking today or this next week to find 5 minutes or so in nature? Perhaps it's walking in a park or a garden, or maybe dusting off the bike and taking it for a spin, or horseback riding if that's available to you.

What are some of your ideas to spend 5 minutes out in nature a day?

Please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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