Have you ever felt calmer, more relaxed or more focused after spending time in nature? This is because spending time outdoors has been studied to have proven benefits for mental health.
Mental illness affects one in five Canadians each year. Let’s talk about what a little vitamin N (nature) can do for your mental health…
Relieve anxiety, stress and depression.
A simple stay outdoors can do wonders for relieving anxiety, stress and depression. Countless studies have shown that nature has a positive effect on mental health. What you see, hear and experience in nature can lift your mood in a moment.
There is a strong connection between time spent in nature and reducing negative emotions. This includes symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic illnesses such as irritability, insomnia, tension headaches, and indigestion.1
Feel stressed? Research shows a link between exposure to nature and stress reduction.2 Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature, as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity. Time in green spaces significantly reduces cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Nature also increases endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness.3
Other mental benefits
Nature also has many other benefits for the brain. Contact with nature has restorative properties, increasing energy and improving the feeling of vitality and concentration. Being close to nature has been shown to reduce ADHD symptoms.4
Are you stuck on a project or idea? Being outdoors also improves creative thinking.5 Proximity to green spaces can restore the ability to concentrate and pay attention.6
Sleeping problems? A two-hour walk in the woods is enough to improve sleep quality and help alleviate sleep problems.7 Sleeping away from artificial light and waking up to natural sunlight can reset your circadian rhythm, helping you feel better. refreshed after a better night’s sleep.
Nature can also help with the grieving process. This is because exposure to nature leads to better coping, including improved self-awareness, better self-concept, and positively affected mood.8
The positive effects of nature affect the way you treat others. People are more caring and positive when they are exposed to various forms of nature and their surroundings.9
What you can do
Getting outdoors doesn’t have to be a lot of work. There are many easy ways to spend quality time in nature.
Start by taking a walk in the woods. Nature walks help combat stress and at the same time improve mental well-being. Do you want to take your path to the next level? Try forest bathing.
Move your training outdoors. Regular use of natural spaces for physical activity can reduce the risk of mental health problems by 50%. Doing activities like walking, cycling, jogging or doing yoga in a natural environment makes you happier than in the city.10
Engage your senses to maximize the health benefits of being outdoors. Breathe deeply, as the scent of fresh pine has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.11 Be sure to pause and listen, as studies show that listening to nature sounds like birdsong and water Running can help reduce stress levels.12
Book a camping trip. Immersing yourself in nature for a longer period of time is the best way to absorb the health benefits of the outdoors.
Ready for your dose of nature?
Find a park near you using our Park Locator.