What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature?

What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature?

The Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

As the saying goes, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” Just like a flower, our well-being as humans is linked to our natural environment in many ways. For example, our personal environments can increase or reduce stress levels, which directly affects the way we feel.

Now that we’re living through a pandemic, perhaps the silver lining is that many people are spending more time outdoors perusing hobbies and connecting with nature. National and state parks have seen significant increases in foot traffic as people turn to outdoor hobbies like hiking. Wonderful news because we’ve long known that nature is a powerful healer.

From the moment we are born, it surrounds us and connects with our senses to help us grow into strong adults. It’s no wonder that science has now begun to validate what many of us have known for years: spending time in nature has an incredibly positive effect on your mental health and overall wellbeing

Nature, be it a forest, a park, or even nature indoors (like gardens or aquariums), leads to many mental health benefits like reduced stress levels and increased happiness! In spending time outside and enhancing our connectedness to nature, nature decreases loneliness, builds resilience, and provides opportunities for self-care. So let’s take a closer look at nature’s mental health benefits.

Reconnect With Your Senses

When you spend time outside in nature, you get the opportunity to tap into more of your senses. For example, nature welcomes the opportunity to engage your sense of smell as you take in the fresh scents around you. Outside, there is a vast and unique world of colors to see and sounds to tune into. If you ever feel disconnected from life or yourself, time in nature can bring you back to your roots.

You Lose Stress And Gain Perspective

Being outdoors is good for your mental health because it provides perspective. This is especially helpful when you are feeling down or overwhelmed. Nature is always there to remind you that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. It gives you peace when life gets hectic and helps keep your stress in check. Furthermore, it encourages you to take some time out for yourself.

Nature walks aren’t only good for your mental health but your physical health too. A nature walk once a week, for just 20 minutes, can reduce your stress levels by 15%! That said, you might spend those 20 minutes simply sitting outside and looking at trees. In which case, you may also find yourself more focused on the present moment with less worry about the past or future.

You Become More Mindful

Just being mindful can have positive effects on your mood, relationships, and overall wellbeing. When you spend time outside in nature, it is easier to be more mindful than when indoors. Think about all the sounds, sights, and smells, compared to the lack thereof inside.

You have a chance to detach and decompress. Spending time outdoors naturally detaches yourself from your phone or other devices. We spend a great deal of time consumed by social media and work emails that we forget the importance and value of nature. In many ways, your mental health depends on enjoying time in nature, away from technology. This time allows for better reflection opportunities and even less stress.

You Enhance Creativity

Numerous benefits come into play when it comes to nature and increasing creativity. For example, nature’s beauty, sounds, and smells – all of which have been shown to increase creativity. Plus, nature can help you think outside of the box and improve your problem-solving skills.

It’s no wonder nature inspires people everywhere to create some of the most awe-inspiring art pieces. And on that note, research has shown that even viewing pictures of natural scenes can increase brain activity associated with happiness and reduce feelings of depression.

You Can Become More Active

You have probably heard before that nature makes you more active, and greater activity improves your physical and mental health. But whether you are taking a seat or a hike, the bottom line is that nature has so many benefits for your mental wellbeing. Nature needs us more than ever – and we need it! So, go…get outside this fall!