The Benefits of Outdoors on Mental Wellbeing

There’s something indescribably amazing about spending quality time outdoors, even for an introvert. Be it a hiking expedition, a camping party, or a simple recreational weekend in the jungle, the fun, thrill, and tranquility outdoors are great for the mind.

You just need at least 20 minutes in a green space, perhaps at a local park and your day blooms. Or even head down to that local river for an epic afternoon kayaking session, and you tremendously improve your health and happiness!

In fact, as research postulates, there’s no better way to brighten up a moody, gloomy day than spending more time outdoors. Getting back to nature is a perfect elixir against stress, anxiety, and depression. It is, by far, the best, according to ecotherapy, which also highlights the various therapeutic benefits behind it.

But it is not just nature, camping is good for your mind!

That camping and the outdoors have lots of wholesome mental health benefits isn’t a surprise. A simple water activity like kayaking, swimming, or scuba diving has a huge direct impact on how satisfied with life a person is. This is according to a survey by Ipsos MORI for Sport England, which found a clear link between workouts and a reduction in the level of the stress hormone cortisol.

However, the positive effects of nature on your mental well-being also have something to do with our affinity towards nature and the outdoors in general. It is actually unsurprising why hotels and accommodation facilities with great natural views register more bookings. Or, why patients on a hospital bed overlooking nature tend to recover sooner, unlike others.

Nature is a ‘natural cure’

The reason why nature and especially a bit of fun in the water is great for one’s psychological wellness boils down to several factors. First, there’s the “active” bit of it whereby, as one gets an adrenaline pump, the amount of feel-good endorphins released shoots.

This has everything to do with the usual catchphrase “a healthy body begets a healthy mind.” You go camping, have fun and flex those muscles to sweat the stress away and as you keep fit, the mind relaxes as well.

There’s more.

Interacting with natural spaces outdoors is enough to make the body feel at ease. And the calming nature sounds of birds chirping, gentle winds blowing, and water gently flowing, instantly soothes a tense soul.

There’s the visual aspect of it whereby, as you gaze on the greenery, the turquoise waters, or even the rapidly flowing waters, the body experiences a subtly soothing effect. This happens as a result of the mind focusing on the ‘positives’ which essentially distracts it from negative thoughts.

Forest bathing; the new day spa

I’m not talking about just camping for the sake of it. There’s a certain Japanese trend called ‘Shinrin Yoku’, translated to mean ‘Forest Bathing.’ It is a practice that encourages individuals to head into the woods if they’d love to feel calm. It is so popular and quite profound amongst the natives whose long-standing belief is that basking in the forest helps fight psychological stress, depression, and hostility.

Need to soak a lot of Vitamin G(reen)?

Green exercising is the new normal and it’s actually proving to be what many, especially workout junkies had been missing. It is perhaps the most effective natural antidepressant and indeed what a person needs to fight anxiety and mild-to-moderate depression.

This style of exercise is quite popular because it can happen anywhere – be it in the jungle, at the lake, or right within the local park. And it is a practice that’s proving so popular today that even mainstream health professionals are strongly advocating for. All it takes is a bit of kayaking, running, hiking, or horse riding in nature.

Detoxing ‘Digitally’

You could argue that in this era, technology is to blame for common mental ills. But much as that is true, spending more time in nature is proving to be the best remedy for them. It offers swift, instant detox, supporting in the fight against the common upheavals brought about by the web.

A day outdoors is sure to help a kid whose typical day entails staying indoors to get creative. At a holiday camp, for example, a child whose addiction to the computer is terrifying is sure to ditch that and embrace the fun and adventure of being away from PCs. This further highlights the way immersion in nature fights the harmful effects of online and urban living.

Additional benefits of embracing outdoors for your mental health

To make your brain build better cognitive functioning; to manage your anger issues; or, to build your self-esteem, go outdoors. Be an adrenaline junkie or a lover of thrilling sports – be a camper!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published