Why being in nature is good for your mental health
I started out exploring nature with all its fascinations from a very young age. As I got older and proceeded to high school, university and the latter years, the one element that kept my mental health “together” was nature.
Whenever I was overworked or needed some calm in my life, I would succumb to nature and the wilderness. It gave me strength, serenity and opened up my mind’s eye to change for the better.
This is the one reason I became an outdoor leader and guide. To help people overcome life’s darker ripples through spending time in nature. My guided trips are designed with this in mind.
Being in nature is good for your mental wealth. There’s no doubt about it, but how good is it for your mental health and wellbeing?
Spending time in nature has plenty of benefits much of which is backed by science, research and my personal experience. Both mental and physical health can benefit from purposing nature as a remedy.
The psychological (mental) effects is substantially impacted in this case and hence, those who choose to spend more time in the outdoors are doing so for a very good reason.
Currently, neglected mental health is one of the biggest causes of illnesses. Some people have no idea that they are even suffering from mental health issues but over time, the body begins to show signs through illness.
Did you know that walking in nature is one of the most powerful tonics for the preservation of your physical and mental wellbeing?
So, why is being in nature good for your mental health?
Maximise natural sunlight
Lack of vitamin D is attributed to anxiety, depression and other serious mental illnesses. This in itself should arouse fear in anybody.
Something that can be avoided by spending time outdoors, but yet overlooked by so many. Vitamin D is also coined as the “sunshine vitamin” which our bodies need to make through the absorption of sunlight through the skin.
Regular exposure to the sunlight is enough to create vitamin D especially between spring through to autumn. The surface area around the face, arms and legs is plentiful and perfect for capturing the sunlight.
The feel-good factor phenomenon
Who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves, mentally and physically? The outdoors and nature is the ultimate feel-good factor that provides the human body with an instant boost.
Those who venture out in the natural outdoors don’t just do it because they are adventure enthusiasts, but they also do so because of the gratification and the emotional uplift they get through exercising in nature, and the rewards of the views that unfold.
The sense of leaving everything behind and being mindful of what’s in front is what happens, and this not only increases confidence but elevates self-esteem to another level.
Reduce stress, anxiety & depression
A few years ago I suffered a major setback in my life. I could have gone down a very different path, perhaps one of very little chance of a safe return. Nature was my remedy.
If suffering from high levels of stress, anxiety and potential depression, you may have felt a never ending circle of thoughts. We all do at some point. The most fortifying way of fighting this severe mental fog is surrendering to nature. I know this from experience.
Spending time in nature is known to reduce stress, anxiety, contribute to better heart health and alleviate depression through vigorous exercise and walks in nature.
And hence if cortisol, the stress hormone is reduced through the outdoors which is often the case, the body and mind reacts in a positive way through increased happiness.
Mood boosting excellence
Nature has the power to accelerate mood boosting excellence in the mind and in turn affects your body in a positive manner.
Sometimes you feel it instantly, and at other times, you feel the effects post activity. Exercising including walking in the outdoors is a natural form of antidepressant and can diminish mild forms of depression.
It is a form of therapy, nature therapy, whereby the senses are attracted to nature’s goodness through sight, sound, smell and touch. T