Firstly, can we take a moment to throw away the stigma attached to the words “mental health”!? We easily talk about physical health like that is normal, but most of the time people associate mental health with things like severe depression, bipolar disorder and other clinically diagnosed conditions that have a really negative connotation to them. Mental health, just like physical health, incorporates a very broad spectrum and is something that we need to work on just like our physical health. So, my challenge to everyone is to think of mental health just like you do with your physical health! Ok, rant over, now onto what this blog post is really about 😊
Did you know that your body is designed to respond positively to the fresh air and bright light? Sometimes all we need is some time outside to see our stress levels decrease and happiness increase. It can be as simple as standing in the sun and taking some deep breaths! It craves it to function at its best, both physically and mentally. This is why winter time and periods of lots of rain can lead to feeling rather down and unmotivated.
Thankfully, as I write this, it is summertime here in Australia where the days are long and sometimes too hot to want to be outside! But, there is no shortage of beautiful sunshine to help lift the mood.
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding solace in the great outdoors is not just a leisurely pursuit; it is a scientifically proven remedy for bolstering mental well-being. In this blog post, we delve into the top 5 research-backed reasons why embracing nature can significantly enhance our mental health. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and struggle to come up with ideas, so I’ve got you covered with seven simple and effective ways to get some more outdoors in your life.
WHY YOUR BRAIN LOVES THE OUTDOORS
☀️ Stress less
Guess what? Nature is like a chill pill for your brain. The natural environment serves as a powerful stress buffer, lowering cortisol levels and promoting relaxation. even brief interactions with nature led to measurable reductions in stress. Who doesn't want less stress, right?
☀️ Happy vibes
Sunshine is like nature's mood booster. Exposure to natural light triggers a serotonin (the happy hormone) party in your brain. A quick 20-minute outdoor stint can actually make you feel on top of the world. Science says so!
☀️ Sharpen that focus
Tired of feeling like a scatterbrain? Nature to the rescue! Take a break outside, and your brain gets a reboot. Spending time in nature enhances attention and concentration by as much as 20%. This phenomenon, known as the "restorative effect," is like a mini-vacation for your brain helping you to concentrate better.
☀️ Get movin
Nature is the ultimate gym without walls. Outdoor environments naturally encourage physical activity, contributing to improved mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) says regular outdoor exercise is the key to kicking depression and keeping your brain in top shape. People who engage in outdoor activities experience a 30% lower risk of developing depression. Let's get moving, people!
☀️ Friends, Fun & Fresh Air
Guess what's better than Netflix and chill? Outdoor socialising! Engaging in outdoor activities fosters social interaction, a key component of mental well-being. Group nature walks significantly lower feelings of depression and perceived stress. Socializing outdoors creates a positive feedback loop, promoting a sense of community and support. So, grab your friends, family, and neighbours, and head outside to enjoy all the benefits it offers.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SIMPLE DAILY ACTIVITIES OUTDOORS:
☀️ Morning stroll
Kick off your day with a morning walk – it's like a shot of espresso but way healthier.
☀️ Lunch in the Park
Ditch the desk and have your lunch outdoors. Fresh air + food = winning combo.
☀️ Sweat it Out
Take your workouts outside – jogging, biking, or even yoga in the park. Who needs a stuffy gym?
☀️ Picnic Party
Turn any meal into a picnic. Grab a blanket, find a spot, and enjoy your food with a side of nature.
☀️ Green Thumb Time
Plant some flowers or herbs. Gardening is not just for your grandma – it's therapy!
☀️ Nature Breaks
Sneak in quick breaks outside during work. Trust us, your brain will thank you.
Plan a day/weekend getaway to nature's paradise. Hiking, beach trips, or camping – take your pick!
WRAPPING IT UP
In a nutshell, the great outdoors is your mental health BFF. By integrating these simple suggestions into your daily routine, you can harness the numerous benefits that nature has to offer, leading to a healthier and happier mind. So, kick off your shoes, step outside and let nature work its magic. Your mind (and body) will thank you later!