Nature’s Benefits on Mental Health

Most of us rarely have time in our busy lives for spending uninterrupted moments outdoors. And while spending time outside is good for your physical health, it influences your mental health as well.

I recently took a trip out to Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania for a day to reset emotionally, physically, and spend some quality time with two of my closest friends. Jim Thorpe was originally a railroad and coal mining/transporting community. It was built in 1818 and truly puts stars in your eyes when you drive down the mountain to see all of the mystical 19th century architecture. Coming down the incline you see the town is tucked perfectly away between two mountain sides. Below the business’s and homes runs a river through a secret tunnel that you can see and hear gushing in the storm drains. The shops and restaurants all have a common theme of mysticism making you feel as though you’re in a different world.

Beyond the town presides the Glen Onoko Falls, a 60 foot waterfall that can only be seen when you hike to the very top. It was probably one of the most difficult hikes I have ever done, but luckily the falling waters created a natural air conditioning as we climbed the mountain. Certainly a piece of relief when you’re hiking this huge incline to the top! When we finally reached it, we walked through it’s waters and sat on the rocks and just basked in it’s beauty. It’s amazing how calming and recharging water can be, the sound, the temperature, the sight, it’s almost as if you’re one with it. Taking this trip gave my mind a re-boot. I feel inspired and motivated to take on the next few weeks, and I promised myself to continue to get outdoors everyday, even if it’s just to walk down the street. Keeping my mind healthy is something I always strive for, and I hope you will too.

When is the last time you took time to recharge with nature? I find that being in the woods puts my mind into a state of clarity, putting my overall well being in a better place . Below are some other ways that nature can be supportive to the mind, I encourage you to take a look and get outside!

Nature Can Heal Your Emotional Self

When you are in nature or even just looking at natural scenes, your negative emotions automatically reduce while your positive ones increase. When you are outside or among natural elements, your blood pressure goes down, your heart rate relaxes, and your muscles release tension. This lowers the production of unhealthy stress hormones, which can do damage to your body when left unchecked for extended periods.

Nature Can Boost Your Mood and Brain Function

When you spend time outside, you are more likely to experience feelings of calmness and balance, while negative emotions diminish. Those who spend more time outdoors feel more vital and claim a more meaningful life, which contributes to higher well-being measures. When you spend time in nature, your ability to concentrate and focus grows, and your overactive mind gets a break from the rampant stimulation of daily life. Being outside gives you a chance to unplug, which can improve your ability to concentrate and focus on your present life.

Nature Can Soothe Your Emotional Pain

When you are feeling sad or coping with a loss, spending time in nature can help you feel better. Our brains are hard-wired to be attracted to find natural elements interesting and absorbing. Think about how often you end up just staring into a fire or watching the waves crash against the shore when you are camping or at the beach. These activities are meditative, which can help to distract you from your emotional pain as well as process your feelings. Being in nature can even make physical pain decrease.

Nature Gives You Time to Reflect

When you are outdoors, away from the distractions of daily life, you have more time to think and process your emotions. Reflection is an essential part of emotional health, and when you get outside and spend time enjoying nature, you are more likely to take advantage of the natural solitude to contemplate important topics for your life. It also provides a refuge to the constant noise, distraction, and sensory input of modern life, giving you peace to consider essential thoughts.

Spend Some Quality Time Alone

One way to experience nature that also benefits your emotional health is by enjoying outdoor activities alone. Spending time alone from time to time is a crucial mental health practice, and you can get even more advantage from some alone time when you spend it outdoors. Time alone allows you to restore your connection to yourself while also enjoying peace and tranquility. When you have time to yourself, you appreciate your close relationships more, you have the chance to think carefully about your life’s priorities, and you make important decisions about what is necessary for your happiness and well-being.

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Khalil Gibran

If you’re looking for places to get outdoors near your town you can visit your state or city’s official website to find a list of outdoor recreation ideas!

Here is the link for Pennsylvania

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