5 Ways Nature Contributes to Mental and Physical Health
Step outside into the surrounding world to discover the incredible benefits that time in nature has on mental and physical health.
If you struggle with mental health issues, you know that your physical health often flounders as well. It’s difficult to step out of your comfort zone when it means the possibility of making your symptoms worse. Sometimes you can’t even find the energy to leave the house to begin with. Mental health issues can make facing the outside world seem impossible and can make your existence very small.
There is a whole world of possibilities outside your front door, though! Getting out into nature helps not only your mental health but your physical health as well. Once you find the drive to step outside your front door, you realize how much there is to see and do.
Nature contributes to your mental wellbeing and physical health in dozens of ways. Continue reading below to find out five of our favorite ways it impacts your health. It might be hard to take that first step towards moving outside of your comfort zone. It makes all of the difficulties worth it once you do, though, and you’ll find it wasn’t as hard as you think!
1. Sunlight has an undeniable effect on your mood.
One of the most prominent symptoms of depression is the struggle to get out of bed. For those deep in their depression, the world shrinks to the size of their bedroom. Though it might feel most comfortable to stay in bed with the shades drawn, this does nothing to help your depression. In fact, it makes it worse.
Have you ever felt anything like the “winter blues”? Wintertime tends to drag many folks down as the sun sinks below the horizon earlier in the day. The cooler weather and the shorter days increase feelings of sadness and hopelessness. As summer approaches and the sun stays out longer, you may have experienced the rise in mood that comes along with it.
Sunlight has incredible benefits for both your mental and physical health. A study conducted in Australia showed higher levels of serotonin, or the “happy brain chemical,” in people on sunny days rather than cloudy ones. You’re also more likely to get out and move when it’s warm outside which also helps your physical health!
2. There are countless fun activities to do outside.
Do you remember the hours you used to spend playing outside when you were younger? Life seemed like it went on forever and the world couldn’t be any bigger. There were things you loved to do as a child that you might have lost as you grew older.
Once depression or other mental health issues creep in, your drive to stay outside disappears. You lose interest in activities you once loved to do. You can create a list of those things you used to enjoy, though, and pick one or two that you want to start doing again! Even if it’s going for a walk around the block, your mental and physical health will thank you.
3. Getting outside gets you out of your head.
As mentioned before, most mental health problems turn the endless world into space inside the four walls of your house. If you can get yourself outside the front door, you once again realize the how much the world truly has to offer. There is more to life than what exists in your head.
If you can get outside with some people you care about it makes the time more enjoyable. Try to gather a group of friends together to go on a drive, to the beach, the park, the mountains, or on some other adventure! Fight back against the thing that says you have to stay inside.
4. Spending time in nature helps you connect with the earth.
Similar to getting you out of your head, when you spend time in nature you connect with the world around you. If you have one nearby, try going out to a forest for a walk through the trees. Gardens provide a similar effect. Research shows that green spaces in nature have incredible mental and physical health benefits.
5. Take up an activity like walking, biking, or running to help your physical health.
Again, physical health often suffers as a result of poor mental health. When you have little motivation to leave the house, you don’t move around very much. This affects your body in many ways, leading to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and a number of other health risks.
Whether you walk a few laps around your neighborhood or dust off your bike and go for a ride, your physical health is important. Research proves that exercise positively impacts your mental health. By taking care of your physical health you will also take care of your mental health.
Seeking Mental Health Treatment
Still, some find it impossible to leave their house no matter how hard they try. Seeking help through mental health treatment can make a massive difference. Facilities like Hawaii Island Recovery offer treatment programs to help individuals take back control of their mental wellbeing. If you need help with finding a solution for your depression, call Hawaii Island Recovery today at 877-721-3556.