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The great outdoors and how it encourges healthy minds

Sometimes we all need a break from everyday life. Thanks to the digital age, we spend most of our days glued to screens and stuck inside, cultivating increasing levels of stress and anxiety. Nature offers an escape. Taking time out of your busy schedule to reconnect with nature could make a world of difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. People of all ages could benefit from a bit of fresh air and escapism. The natural world might help you forge new connections, learn to skills, practice mindfulness, or inspire you to get more active. The benefits are endless.

Getting away from it all

One of the wonderful things about the great outdoors is that it mixes up your routine. If you feel trapped in work or uninspired at home, making space in your schedule for a day in the countryside could completely change your outlook.

A detox from technology every now and then could do worlds of good for your mental health. It is easy to get into the routine of constantly checking your phone and trawling through work emails in the evenings, but sometimes your brain needs a break. Turn off your devices and spend a day detoxing in a natural environment — your brain will thank you for it!

Reconnecting with the family

An adventurous day out is not only beneficial for the mental health of adults, children will benefit massively as well. Grab your children’s raincoat and wellies and head out on an adventure! It isn’t always easy to make time for the most important things in life, so take any opportunity to spend some quality time with your family. A day in the countryside is one of the best ways to do this. Without any distractions, your family can enjoy each other’s company while getting some much-needed fresh air.  

Reducing stress and anger

It has been proven that proximity to greenspace can directly reduce your stress levels. Furthermore, people who choose to relocate to greener areas often see a vast improvement in their mental health.  With this in mind, it’s a no-brainer that connecting with nature can instrumental in your battle with stress and anger.

Ecotherapy is used as a form of stress relief and rehabilitation. This form of therapy could be individual, or group based. It is built around the detoxifying qualities of nature and often used to help those with mental health issues, addiction issues, or bereavement. Through ecotherapy, participants see improvements in self-esteem, efficacy and control, evidencing the overwhelming power of nature as a medicine.

Learning new skills and forging new connections

Other elements that ecotherapy focusses on include skill development and working as a team. Group activities such as camping, or wilderness programs can improve mental health by creating a feeling of togetherness. They also encourage you to focus on the task in hand. Focusing on survival can detract from other anxiety-inducing concerns and complications.

Learning new skills like foraging and fire building, can be fun as well as rewarding. Plus, the comradery created by a group camping trip can give your mental health a boost. Connecting with others is a basic human necessity, and these relationships can feel a lot more natural in an outdoor setting. Many people experience a stronger sense of relief when they walk while discussing an issue that they’re going through, as it can feel like a more suitable environment to truly clear their thoughts.

Getting active

There is an undeniable link between mental and physical health. One of the fantastic things about the great outdoors is that it encourages you to get active. A long walk in the countryside, rewarded by a cozy pub at the end, is a failsafe way to clear your mind and get yourself moving. 

In contrast to the monotony of the gym, getting out to the countryside for a bit of exercise will allow you to experience new environments while boosting your endorphin levels. The release of feel-good endorphins is what makes us feel so good after any kind of exercise. Even a gentle 15-minute stroll can make a world of difference on how positive we feel. Making a conscious effort to take some time to go for a walk can help to keep both our mind and body feeling happy and healthy, and it is one of the only ‘free’ ways to feel excellent.

Embracing your inner child

Everyone has an inner child that they need to set free, but that can be near-impossible while you’re stuck in the office. Sometimes, taking a break from city life can be the best way to let your imagination run wild and feel invigorated again.

Reconnecting with nature will improve your mental wellbeing, alleviate stress, and allow you some quality time with the most important people in your life. One nature enthusiast told Mind UK, that “there is something about the quiet calm of nature that is contagious, leaving a quiet calm in my mind.” And we couldn’t agree with the sentiment more!

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Written by Phoebe

Story Maker

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