5 Ways the Outdoors Can Benefit Your Mental Health

1. Rests Your Mind

With so much going on around us in our busy world, it seems like our minds never have the chance to fully shut off. Even the few precious moments not spent behind a computer or in front of a television screen are often filled with to-do lists and worried thoughts.

Spending time in the outdoors allows us a break from the chaos and a chance to rest our minds. When we put away our phones and truly commit to enjoying the fresh air, our mental fatigue decreases. As we hit the “reset” button on our minds every now and again, we will face new challenges with more clarity.

2. Improves Your Focus

Focus-centered problems such as ADHD appear to be on the rise. As our society grows more sedentary and increasingly digital, it is not hard to see why. Spending time in nature, however, has been scientifically shown to increase concentration and improve focus.

Even short, 20-minute walks through nature can benefit your mental health by improving your ability to concentrate once you resume your day. If you are struggling to focus and your attention is wavering, try spending a few minutes outside.

3. Boosts Your Mood

So many of us spend our days in cubicles under fluorescent lighting. We rarely see the sunlight, yet we bask in the blue glow of our computer screens for hours on end.

Natural light, on the other hand, has been shown to boost mood and increase feelings of positivity. So many of our “glowface” woes could be cured by a simple afternoon at the park or walk around the block. Natural light, fresh air, and beautiful views will all benefit our mental health—and the best part is, they are completely free!

4. Encourages Exercise

When we spend time outside, the natural inclination for many of us is to exercise. While it is perfectly possible to enjoy nature without exercise, there are also countless ways to get up and move while also taking in fresh air and sunlight.

Exercise produces endorphins in the body. These endorphins, in turn, increase our moods and create a sense of temporary euphoria. The powerful results of exercise, when coupled with the many benefits of being outside, seem to point toward a happier state of mind and improved mental health.

5. Sparks Creativity

When we feel anxious, depressed, lonely, or otherwise “down,” other aspects of our lives tend to suffer as well. Depression generally leads to decreased motivation and productivity. Likewise, people who are anxious and lonely tend to withdraw and spend less time on things they once used to love.

Spending time in nature, however, sparks our creativity and exposes us to new sights and sounds. Often, a few hours in the great outdoors is all it takes to feel inspired. Nature can increase your creativity, which can benefit your mental health, too.

A little time outside can work wonders in many situations. As we work and spend time outdoors, we will reap the benefits nature has to offer.

If you find yourself struggling with your mental health despite your efforts to spend more time outdoors, you may simply require more intensive treatment. Depression counseling can help fill in the gaps that time outside is not able to treat.

Not sure if counseling is right for you? Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. Or, visit here to learn more about how I can help.