A Natural Connection
Connecting with nature can nourish your spirit and make you feel whole. Our treatment center offers easy access to nature, helping our residents feel more peaceful.
Exposure to nature can do wonders for your mental health treatment journey.
Explore the benefits of being in nature and what it can do to improve your mental health during treatment and in the long term.
You Probably Don’t Get Enough Nature Exposure
According to the EPA, Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. There are plenty of reasons for this. You might spend less time outside because you are too busy either with work or school. Perhaps you are disconnected from nature or too connected to technology. This trend tends to get worse in the winter and has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to isolation.
Another issue you might is that nature is not always easily accessible. Public parks might not be within walking distance, and state or national parks might be too out of the way. The lack of green spaces and blue spaces has been detrimental to mental health. While it might be harder to fit outdoor time into your schedule, it is still worth trying. There are many easy ways to include nature in your life.
What Nature Does for Your Mental Health
Based on research that has been done so far, there is some evidence that exposure to nature can reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress chemical that is released when your body feels like it is in danger. Your body sometimes might release it when there is no danger present. Stress reduction has many benefits, such as lower blood pressure, better focus, and a better mood overall.
Provides Exposure to Fresh Air
Going outside allows you to breathe in the fresh air. Since trees and other plants absorb carbon, places with nature tend to have cleaner air. Adventuring into the wilderness can be great for your lung health and your brain.
Reduces Mental Clutter
Green spaces are peaceful. You might feel overwhelmed in the city or the suburbs, but around greenery, your brain might feel calmer. You can instead focus on the beauty of the plants around you. Less mental clutter can lower your stress and let you focus on what matters. Mindfulness is easier in nature because you can concentrate on the smells and sounds of the woods.
Improves Your Mood
A study found that nature exposure can reduce a depressive mood. The stress reduction element can also contribute to a better mood since high levels of stress can lead to anxiety and depression.
Allows for More Focus
Nature exposure has also been reported to increase attention span. Those in modern or urban environments might struggle to focus because of mental fatigue and stress. Some studies have found that nature exposure can even reduce symptoms of ADHD that make it harder to retain focus.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Hypertension can be a serious issue with severe consequences. Those who have high blood pressure often have an increased chance of having a stroke. There is evidence that nature exposure can lower your blood pressure. This is because walking in the woods can leave you feeling more relaxed.
Helps You Achieve Better Emotional Regulation
Having plants around or exposing yourself to nature can have a positive effect on your prefrontal cortex or the part of your brain that is in charge of emotional regulation. There have been studies that people had better control of their emotions after nature exposure.
Ways to Interact With Nature
Now that the weather is finally becoming warmer, it is easier to spend time outside. There are plenty of reasons to visit natural spots in your community. Take advantage of the warmer weather and spend time outside.
Go on a Nature Walk
If you live near any parks or forests, consider taking a walk in the woods or walking around the park. Consider going on a hike and notice everything growing around you. Walking in nature is a great way to practice mindfulness.
Listen to Nature Sounds
If you are not near a nature spot, consider listening to recordings of nature sounds such as forest noises or beach sounds. Listening to nature sounds could be a great addition to a meditation practice or something to listen to while you go to sleep.
Go Outside on Your Lunch Break
Your day might be too packed to enjoy nature on your off time. Consider enjoying nature during your lunch break at work. Thanks to warmer weather, you can sit outside and enjoy your lunch. Is there a park nearby your work?
Read Outside on a Nice Day
If you enjoy a good book, reading outside can be a great way to spend your leisure time. The sounds of nature can make a great background while you sit on the grass and enjoy a good novel. Consider making an outdoor space perfect for reading.
Buy Plants to Decorate Your Space
If you are not near nature, consider buying some easy to care for plants to brighten up your space. Indoor plants can be a great source of oxygen and can give you something to take care of.
Start a Garden
If you have the space, start a garden outside. There are plenty of easy vegetables that you can try to grow this season. Do not be afraid to get dirty. Starting with cucumbers, green beans, and tomatoes is the best option if you have never gardened before.