Who doesn’t enjoy the thought of going for a walk in the park? It offers a mental health boost! For some more adventurous folks, spending months on a 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail? How about heading off to a hidden lake in the mountains? Perhaps taking in the ocean’s lapping waves? The available options are nearly limitless, and, thankfully, so much of the world is still free and open.
Spending time in nature offers everyone a mental health boost
Experts encourage people to spend as much time in nature as possible for several reasons, improving mental health is one of them.
Memory Improves for Those with Depression
One of the unfortunate side effects of depression is experiencing less of an ability to remember things. However, a study showed that depressed individuals who went on 50-minute walks in natural settings showed significant memory-related improvements as compared to those who instead engaged in 50-minute walks in more urban settings.
Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Another study found that participants experienced a noticeable reduction in anxiety levels thanks to spending time in nature. Interestingly, the more the participants viewed their environments as being more natural than others, regardless of whether or not they were, the less anxious those people were.
In 2012, participants in a study, all of whom were experiencing issues related to their mental health, were able to experience significant self-esteem improvements when compared to other study participants who instead took part in social activities that did not take place in natural settings.
Green Living Environments Increase Health Perceptions
This isn’t a comprehensive list. Regularly spending time in nature offers several mental health benefits. Regardless, it’s clear the benefits are significant. Although getting out in nature is tougher nowadays as more and more people move into urban environments, it’s important to make the effort to enjoy nature.
About the Writer: Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2