Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy The Startling Effects of Nature on Your Mental Health

The Startling Effects of Nature on Your Mental Health

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Now more than ever before people are talking about mental health. Not only that, the connections between mental health and other issues like obesity, alcoholism, and even drug addiction are becoming more apparent. As new and innovative approaches become mainstream, more people are looking to the simpler things in life to help them through mental health crises. There’s a reason why people feel so much better after spending time in nature. Nature has a measurable impact and studies show that it helps people feel better. According to researchers, there are many ways that getting outdoors can improve your mental health and overall well-being.

Here are some surprising ways that just 15 minutes outside can make a difference in your life.

Nature makes you feel good

Mental health conditions leave people feeling bad. They experience depression or anxiety and turn to a variety of unhealthy ways to cope. This can lead to eventual addictions to food, alcohol, and even drugs. Because of the effects that nature has, more and more rehab facilities are looking for ways to incorporate natural elements into their treatment programs. Even NYC or SLC alcohol rehab facilities look to incorporate more time outdoors. They may even do therapy sessions outside or encourage clients to take walks in nature on their breaks. 

You don’t have to be an expert to know that spending time in the great outdoors is good for your mental health. There’s a reason why people flock to parks, forests, and beaches. Nature has a healing effect on both your body and mind. Being near plants and trees can help you relax and feel more positive. And can even help you when you want to overcome addiction.

Nature boosts your mood

A recent study found that even just mildly stressful tasks are much easier to complete while looking at nature. And it’s not just because of the obvious beauty. The researchers noted that being outside boosts positive emotions and decreases negative ones by making people feel more connected with others, encouraging positive experiences, and reducing anxiety.

Easy ways to add nature to your lifestyle include taking walks in green parks, finding hiking trails on nearby mountains, or even visiting a local botanical garden. Taking breaks outside with fresh air and greenery can improve your mood at work instead of sitting at a desk and looking at a computer all day.

Nature reduces stress and improves memory

While many people turn to drugs or alcohol when they feel stressed or overwhelmed, there are better options. Nature is one of the best stress relievers around. People feel more relaxed and at ease when they are around plants, trees, flowers, and animals. Not only that but spending just 15 minutes a day in nature can also improve memory and help people boost their focus. This is why many people tend to plants in their homes, place them in their offices, and go for walks outside.

Nature can help reduce symptoms of ADHD

If you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms of ADHD, nature could be a helpful tool. Even without medication, research shows that spending time in nature can reduce the severity of some of the most common symptoms associated with ADHD which are impulsivity and hyperactivity. In addition to being able to manage their own behaviour better when they’re outside, kids diagnosed with ADHD are also more likely to be able to access and express their emotions appropriately when they spend time in an outdoor setting. They will have more focus in classrooms if they can go outside off and on throughout the day.

Nature improves your creativity

Creativity is critical for success in life. Whether you need to problem solve at work, you need new ideas for projects, or you need creative ways to parent, get outside in nature. Whether it’s warm or cool outside, spending time around greenery and natural sounds can give you more creative ideas to use in any situation. Since nature also boosts memory, you’ll be able to focus and concentrate when needed.  

Final thoughts

Getting out in nature is great for your mental health. Whether you need to recover from addiction, you need strategies to manage ADHD, or you need more creativity, nature can help. When you need to boost your mood, and overcome stress and anxiety, taking time each day to spend in nature will help your mental health in numerous ways.

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle. 

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