Mental Health Benefits of Nature

The most natural stress reliever is nature itself.

I don’t know about you, but I try and spend as much time in nature as possible.

Escaping into the wilderness isn’t something we normally prioritize. Our lives are built around family, jobs, and technology, so in order to really get out and experience nature we have to make an effort. That being said, absconding into the wilds for an afternoon can be one of the healthiest things you do for your mind.

We all know the feeling of being stressed out. Anxiety can make you feel trapped in a cage. Whenever things are going wrong at every turn, we often turn inwards and hide under the covers with a pint of ice cream. While this coping mechanism works, it doesn’t work half as well as forcing ourselves to take a short day trip into nature.

READ MORE: Five Reasons to Take Your Kids on a Mental Health Hike

Studies show that even looking at scenes of nature can have a calming effect on the mind. Being in nature itself helps to combat stress, reduces blood pressure and heart rate, and is great for your emotional well-being.

Physically taking yourself out of a stressful situation will do wonders for your mental state. But where should you go?

Two of my favorite natural getaways are the beach, and the mountains, for different reasons.

At the beach, you can sit and listen to the waves crash, watch the horizon (which is in and of itself, a great stress reliever), go for a long swim, or take a nap under an umbrella. The beach is great for melting your stress away by relaxing.

The mountains are great for reflection. You can hike, get your blood pumping, take in breathtaking views, and practice problem solving with different rocks and trails. If you need to solve some problems in your life, getting out into the mountains is the best way to clear your head and gain some clarity around the stressors in your life.

If you don’t live anywhere near the mountains or the beach, just walking around a local park, or sitting by a small creek or stream will also help your mental state.

The key is to unplug, and take yourself out of the stressful situation. Nature heals, but you have to make the effort, and seek it out.

Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: