Improving Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Nature has long been known to improve our physical health, but did you know that it can also have a significant impact on our mental health? Studies show that spending time in nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and also improve overall mood and cognitive function.
Let’s explore the benefits of nature for your mental health and how you can incorporate more time in nature into your daily routine.
Reducing Stress is one of the most significant benefits to spending time in nature. It is easy to become stressed and overwhelmed in our fast-paced world, but being in nature can help counteract those feelings. Nature is calming, and can reduce cortisol levels, and give our minds a much needed break from our never ending to-do lists and daily pressures of life. Read more about the effects of chronic stress here.
Improve your cognitive function and boost your mood by spending time in nature. Exposure to natural light and fresh air can help regulate sleep patterns, improving your mood and energy levels. Research has shown that spending time in nature can help our ability to focus and improve attention span. Being in nature helps us feel more creative and inspired, leading to a boost in productivity.
Connecting with nature can create positive emotions such as calmness, joy, creativity and can even improve concentration. It is important to have quiet time in your life and getting outside can calm the mind and body. Activities that involve the senses can help to develop our connection with the natural world, as can activities where we feel emotions such as compassion, perceive beauty or find meaning in nature. Life can be cluttered and busy but by taking a moment to step outside, you can center yourself back into reality.
Here’s a few suggestions to incorporate more time in nature into your daily routine:
- Take a walk outside. Whether it’s a local park, nature reserve, or just the street near your home or workplace can help you reap the benefits above.
- Practice mindfulness in nature. Be present in the moment and fully engage in your surroundings.
- Start a garden. Even a small one can help you connect with nature on a deeper level. It’s also a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the outdoors.
- Bring your daily activities outside! Choose to eat lunch outdoors or move your exercise routine outside.
To learn more about Mental Health Month, click here for a Mental Health America’s Toolkit.