If you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a minute to admire the view. When people experience emotions like "awe," they tend to feel as if they are living in the moment. Simply looking at a breathtaking image can make you think you have more time on your hands, and that life is longer and fuller, according to a new Stanford University study. Start feeling better now by scrolling through these 10 beautiful outdoor images.
By Maria Masters
Nature doesn't just inspire you: Exercising near a lake, ocean or river can boost your mental health, too. Scientists think that when people are close to water, they naturally feel calmer.
What conjures up the most feelings of awe? Gazing at immense, vast scenes like this sweeping view of rivers and forests.
Taking a family vacation to a national park or gorgeous landscape? Write about the experience in your diary—just thinking about the awe-inspiring places you've visited can make you feel like there are more minutes in the day.
Here's another great reason to head outdoors: People who looked at breathtaking images were also more likely volunteer their time, says the Stanford University study.
If you need a quick way to recharge, just step outside. A University of Rochester study found that when people walked outdoors for 20 minutes, they felt a boost in their energy levels.
As refreshing as the ocean is, the beach itself is often beneficial for your health too: Research shows that strolling on uneven sand causes your body to work harder, helping you burn more calories and use more muscles.
Keep planning for that dream vacation. More than half of Americans say they need to get away—but the majority of people also don't use all of their vacation days. Here's why you should: Women who go on regular trips are twice as likely to be satisfied with their marriages as those who don't.
Nearly half of people feel like they don't have enough time in the day, says the study. But by gazing into the sun as it sinks into the horizon, it could help shift your perception of how long the days really are.
If your house is packed with relatives or your child's friends, try thumbing through some pictures of natural wonders, like a mountain range. The Stanford University study found that people who felt in awe of an image reported feeling less impatient.
Natural landscapes—like this peaceful lake—aren't the only references that will boost your inspiration. Thinking back on personal events, like the birth of a child, can also inspire awe.
Originally published in November 2012 on FamilyCircle.com.
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