Can Exposure to Nature Really Help to Improve Your Mental Health?


Have you ever stopped to consider that, over the years, people have strayed further and further away from nature? It seems urban landscapes have increasingly replaced natural settings all over the country. Does that decrease in nature directly correlate to your mental health? It almost certainly does. Here is a look at why, and how.

Why People Escape to Somewhere Green

When people want to get away from it all, where do they tend to go? They head off to places with natural features. They go to seashores and beaches. They head off to places that feature more greenery and life. They take hikes through the landscape. They take pictures of all the things they see.

There is a reason why people seek nature. It brings comfort, peace, and focus. Studies show urban areas literally increase the levels of stress, depression, and mental illness in people. Occasional or prolonged exposure to nature helps to counterbalance those negative effects.

What Is It About Nature that Can Help?

Can the occasional walk in a park really help you out? It may seem like a stretch to say that exposure to nature can help improve mental health. The truth is that it certainly can, and studies back up the claim.

  • Nature alleviates mental fatigue
  • Nature calms and inspires
  • Nature promotes exercise

Just by taking a walk through a park, you will decrease anxiety and negative feelings. If you ruminate, or constantly worry about the same the thing, then try going outside to somewhere green.

What Counts as Nature?

You may wonder what exactly constitutes “nature.” You do not have to go far out of your way to find it. Any area that has growing, living things like plants and trees can count. Of course, the more natural the setting the better. But, a park will suffice if a forest or a beach is not available. It is not just the scenery that helps; it is the sounds and feelings you get from having nature around you.

How Nature Therapy Can Help You Reconnect with Nature

One way to get started on reconnecting with nature is with nature therapy. Understand that nature therapy is not a single thing. It is a host of activities and healing techniques which utilize nature in the process. These activities can help you improve your mind, body, and spirit by helping you reconnect with the natural world around you.

These activities can include anything from gardening, to outdoor group meditation. The key is that when you are doing any of these activities, you are doing them in natural environments. They can take the form of traditional types of therapies, such as physical therapy, just with a natural setting. Adding nature to other activities can only help to improve the effects of the activity in various ways.

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