As we wind down our Go Take a Hike! blog series we wanted to ask you a question:
If you wrote a list of people, places or things that support your mental health, would nature be on your list?
Life moves so quickly, spending time in nature offers you an opportunity to slow down, breathe deeply, take in the sounds of the wildlife, and recharge. When you spend time in nature, your mental health and physical health might feel the positive effects. Being outdoors, you’ll get much more Vitamin D, which works wonders for your physical health! Whether you’re sitting on a picnic blanket, biking, hiking, or taking a hammock nap, you might notice your body and mind become calmer.
What do you feel when you’re out in nature? Do you recognize your heartbeat getting calmer, your muscles feel less tense, do you pay more attention to the sights and sounds instead of stressing about your tasks for the day? This could all just be a coincidence, or it could be due to the heightened endorphin levels and dopamine production, with a decrease to your cortisol levels, which is a recipe for happiness! On top of heightened happiness, being outside gives you an opportunity to get active which boosts nature’s positive powers, with the bonus of getting your body moving. To top it off, nature is believed to help with concentration, whether you’re having writers block, or you’re overwhelmed with tasks, nature is there to give your brain space to expand and get creative.
These positive effects can continue to be felts indoors if you’re able to bring the outside, in. Having an open window or keeping your curtains open, having a house plant, listening to calming nature sounds, anything nature related could totally boost the positive effects of nature after you’ve returned from your time outside!
The benefits of being in nature are endless, weather you’re looking to boost your mood, get your blood pumping, gain better concentration, or have some peace, you’ll find it all in nature. It’s now up to you to invite all these positive effects into your life.
Not sure how to get started? You can check out our “Go Take a Hike!” posts for some inspiration…if you happen to live in those areas. If you don’t, we recommend downloading the AllTrails app. It’s free, and no matter where you find yourself looking for a hike to go on you can enter the town or city in the search field and it will bring up a list of trails to try out.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there!