The issue of mental health has become increasingly important in the United States. Researchers have been studying how everyday factors, such as outdoor lighting, may contribute to mental health in people. When it comes to outdoor lighting, there is a fine line between too much and not enough. This can have different effects on your mental health. To improve your mental health, our team has taken the time to learn more about different lighting techniques. Here's what we learned:
The Value of Getting Outside
In order to better understand how outdoor lighting can affect your health, it is important to understand what role it plays. Even being outside for 20 minutes can have a positive effect on your health. Study participants who spent 20 minutes walking around or sitting outside reported lower stress, blood pressure, and heart rates than those who stayed inside all day.
How does nature boost our mental health? Harvard University's Medical School studied the brain activity of individuals who walked outside for 90 minutes in a natural setting or their backyard. In people who were surrounded by plants, had plenty of natural light, or were in a familiar environment, their prefrontal cortex activity was lower. When people ruminate on negative thoughts or emotions, this part of the brain is active. Those who are depressed or under constant stress may experience malfunctions in this area of the brain, resulting in a cycle of negative thoughts that further harms your mood.
Getting outside allows you to enjoy the soothing sounds of nature, the beautiful sight of trees, and even sounds that remind you of good memories. It can also reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and calm the fight-or-flight response that causes the prefrontal cortex to fire.
Outdoor Lighting's Impact on Mental Health
The benefits of nature are vital to understanding how outdoor lighting can contribute to your mental health. Most people work 9-5 jobs, so they rarely get to spend time outdoors. As soon as everything for the day is settled and individuals can relax, the sun dips below the horizon. Homeowners can enjoy Mother Nature even after the sun has set with outdoor lighting. Here’s how:
A Place to Get Away
The modern world is a whirlpool of getting from one place to another, work, electronic screens, and information blasting our brains nearly every second of the day. It's no surprise that an increasing number of people are yearning for a safe haven where they can just breathe. A gently lighted outdoor living space provides you and your brain with a safe haven from the chaos of the outside world.
Warm and gentle tones are essential when it comes to lighting outdoor spaces. This type of illumination not only promotes relaxation, but is also the polar opposite of the light emitted by your phone or computer screen. This allows your eyes to rest, allowing your mind to concentrate on the beauty that surrounds you and completely appreciate the soothing sounds of nature.
You may go to your safe zones, such as an outside kitchen, outdoor living room, or even an outdoor pool, without worrying about it being too dark thanks to outdoor lighting. Even when the sun isn't shining, soft outdoor lighting allows you to enjoy your garden space. Extending the amount of time you may spend outside allows you to take a stroll around your garden or relax by the pool, no matter how hectic your schedule is.
A Feeling of Safety
There's a reason why horror films use a lot of dark settings. Dark environments make us feel anxious and vulnerable by heightening our perception of danger. Our visual senses are diminished or, in some cases, entirely lost when we are not exposed to light. We feel more exposed to damage from intruders, pests, and even tripping when we can't see what's going on around us.
With outdoor lighting, you no longer have to be afraid of what lurks in the shadows. The light dispels the shadows and reveals what lies beneath. Intruders will have a tougher time sneaking around our property, giving you and your family a greater sense of security. Outdoor lighting is particularly handy for people who want to take out the garbage at night, go around their garden, or simply check the mailbox. They can confidently leave their home now that the darkness has vanished.
A Sense of Appreciation
You take tremendous pride in your home, and the darkness can make it difficult to see at times. You can come home to a perfectly illuminated residence that highlights what you have accomplished and built with gorgeous exterior lighting.
Having an appreciative attitude toward the life you've constructed has been shown to make people happier, according to a mental health study conducted by two psychologists from the University of Miami. Individuals were divided into three groups for this investigation. The first was asked to write down things they were glad for, the second to write down things that upset them during their typical day, and the third to write a few phrases about their daily life. Throughout the study, participants who were asked to focus on the things they were grateful for were found to be more optimistic, motivated, active, and visited the doctor less.
Outdoor lighting allows you to be proud of the home you and your family have created. You may add an extra layer of beauty to your property by spotlighting the architecture, the grounds surrounding your home, and any distinctive features such as a garden or pool with professional outdoor lighting. Enjoy a tranquil evening surrounded by nature, your family, and friends in your own outdoor living space, greeted home by the brilliance of the life you constructed.