A stroll in the public park, a hike in the wilderness, or a day at the beach is proven beneficial for our mental and physical health. A study conducted by Mathew White concluded that there are plentiful cognitive benefits and happiness when exposed to nature. Mother nature has healing powers that we can’t get anywhere.
There is a reason why relaxing songs in massage parlors are sounds from nature like ocean waves, birds chirping, and rainfall are used. Some people use wallpapers of nature when at work. There are scents of air freshener like ocean breeze or flower petals. What we see, hear, and experience with nature changes our mood and reduces our stress. What are the benefits of nature for our mental health?
What Are the Benefits of Nature Therapy for Mental Health?
Nature heals, soothes, and restores our mental well-being. Some may not know this, but nature therapy can calm depression, improve sleep, and encourages social interaction. All of these are key ingredients for better mental well-being.
Cognitive Benefits of Nature for Mental Health
Cognitive functions relate to intellectual activity, thinking, reasoning, and a person’s ability to remember. Study shows that a time in nature even just for a few minutes helps in the brain’s cognitive function, regardless of the age of the person. In fact, an interesting experiment has proved this point.
A group of students was given to do a draining task. Half of the students had a rooftop view, while the other half has a view of grasses and flowers over the window. The students with the garden view had lesser mistakes as compared to the students with a rooftop view.
With the study, it was concluded that spending time in nature can improve cognitive function by:
- Increasing concentration levels
- Increases the ability to pay attention
- Lower stress levels
- Make a tired brain happy
- Increase the desire to spend more time in nature
Calming Effects on the Mind
It has been a long-standing fact that nature’s beauty and serenity have that calming effect on the mind and creates that sense of peace. That is something you can’t find in urban spaces and busy traffic areas. If you’re having a stressful week, staying at home for the weekend and binge-watching a series on Netflix does not give that sense of fulfillment to be relaxed compared to a nature trip.
Try spending the weekend on the beach and see the difference it can make in calming your mind. As you start your Monday, you’ll feel more relaxed and fired up to work. You feel refueled and are ready to face another stressful work for the week. Spending time in nature effectively reduces stress, avoids mental fatigue, recharges your mind, and helps you to be in a happy mood.
Mental Health Benefits in Healing
Spending time in nature has healing effects on our mental health and physical well-being. Going for a hike, for example, and seeing picturesque views does not only reduces stress and anger but also helps with our physical well-being. A hike uphill is a form of exercise that helps in regulating blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate, reduces stress hormones, boosts the immune system, and produces happy hormones.
Nature therapy also does wonders for healing both mental and physical sickness. Don’t you ever wonder that people who live in mountains or forests have longer life spans than those in the city? Aside from healthy eating, those who live close to nature or green spaces have better mental health outcomes and fewer diseases.
Calms Down Depression
A study has shown that at least 2 hours a week of time spent in nature helps to calm down depression. People on the verge of depression use nature therapy so the symptoms do not worsen.
Just the simple fact of being in nature, we get to practice mindfulness and gratitude. The peace and quiet of the environment around us help us clear our mind of unnecessary worries, anxiety, reduce anger and tension. The time spent in nature is also a great form of exercise, which is one of the major keys in battling depression.
The great outdoors also encourages healthy physical activity, which is a major factor in battling depression. Not only does exercise increase your energy levels and make you physically stronger, but it also makes you feel happier.
Endorphins are the happy hormones produced by the body during any physical activity. Just imagine the combination of the mood-boosting impact of nature therapy and exercise on how this can make you feel. Say goodbye to obesity, diabetes, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and depression all at the same time.
Nature Encourages Better Social Interaction
Here’s another benefit of nature therapy, better social interaction. Sure you can go to the beach or hike the mountains alone. But it would rather be fun and better to tag someone along in these nature trips? If you don’t have navigation skills and wilderness survival training, then it is better to go with someone who has a rather advanced experience.
Going on these nature trips allows you to have fun and active social interaction. Who knows, you might meet some new friends along the way? You won’t believe how many new friendships are formed in campsites and beaches. Exposure to nature can avoid social isolation and loneliness, thus will have a significant impact on your mental health.
Word From the Wise
Mother nature really has that different impact on how we go about our everyday life. Have you ever wondered why these works of nature are so beautiful? So it can help humans to survive and have sane mental health.
So go outdoors, feel the breath of fresh air, enjoy the nature sounds, hike in the woods, kiss the sun. Exposure to nature at least two hours a week should be a part of your weekly habit for the whole family. Whether you’re doing this for self-care, avoiding mood disorders, getting through the week, or as a family bonding, you know that nature is your go-to therapy.
But if you’re going through a rough mental state in your life and think that a nature trip may not be enough to get you through, always resort to therapy. Kentucky Counseling Center can help you get through these challenging times. Thanks to the Telehealth Counseling feature of Kentucky Counseling Center, you can have remote therapy anytime and anywhere, even when you’re out on a nature trip. Nothing gets better than that, two therapies in one.