How Getting Outside Can Boost Mental Health

The age-old question is: nature, or nurture? What about being nurtured by nature?

Multiple scientific studies show the clear link between being in nature and a positive effect on mental health. I’ve also experienced it for myself; whenever I’m in a depressive slump, a long walk outside is a guaranteed mood booster.

Read on to find out why getting outside is one of the best things you can do for your mental health and general well-being.

Make Sure You Have Support

First of all, make sure that you are getting the support you need.

No amount of walking outside is going to cure you if you have a chronic mental illness that is seriously debilitating your ability to rejoin society.

If you have poor mental health, seek a counselor or therapist, or reach out to loved ones. They want to help you, and you are worth it.

Getting Outside

One of the next best things you can do for yourself is to get outside.

Experiments have demonstrated that just a few minutes of perceiving green can perk up a beleaguered brain. Students who perceived a nice flowering green roof were able to complete tasks more accurately than students who did not.

Both Harvard and Yale researchers agree that mood can be lifted by spending time outdoors.

What Being Outdoors Does for You

Scientists generally agree that the mechanism for mood improvement is a variety of factors.

Walking and any form of exercise reduces stress, which may be part of it. The sounds of nature may also be therapeutic and relaxing.

Think about the sound of the ocean; the gentle and rhythmic breaking of waves on the shore. I know I feel relaxed instantly when I recall that sound. Even a babbling brook or chirping birds is relaxing enough.

In fact, much like the students from earlier, those who listened to relaxing nature sounds performed better on cognitive tests than those who listened to ambient city noises like coffee shop sounds or urban traffic.

Existential Benefits

Perhaps the most unaccounted-for benefit is existential. We are so caught up in social media and capitalism that it is really hard to disconnect and check in with our inner selves.

We often are overwhelmed by a deluge of media and negative news, and it can be easy to drown in self-loathing and hopelessness.

Nature is essentially grounding. It doesn’t assault or inundate us with information.

Studies show that children who grow up in areas with tons of green space are less likely to experience mental health difficulties growing up. Get outside! You will not regret it.

Easy Activities to Do Outside

Some easy activities that you can do outside are: taking a walk, listening to music, listening to an audiobook, playing frisbee, sitting beside a body of water, taking a nap.

All of these are relaxing and help you engage with your surroundings. Try even leaving your phone at home!

Getting outside is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. It is supremely relaxing and existentially beneficial.

If you are looking for extra support for yourself or your loved ones, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Our family-owned funeral homes, Kuzo and Foulk, are here to help the Kennett Square, West Grove, and surrounding PA communities. Whether that’s with preplanning, a death in the family, cremation, a casket, the funeral service, or a funeral director, we’re here for you. Contact us for all of your funeral needs.