How spending time in nature is good for your wellbeing and mental health

How Spending Time In Nature Helps Your Mind And Overall Wellbeing

Anybody who identifies as a nature-lover knows this: you can find wellbeing and balance by spending time in nature. Boosting your mental wellbeing is as easy as spending time in a natural landscape. 

We know this firsthand.

At the height of the pandemic lockdowns in 2020, we were escaping for morning walks on our local urban forest trails. Even those small patches of forest can have a great effect on your mental well-being. 

There were many others who found themselves drawn to walking in the woods as well!

Whether it was initially because of boredom, or perhaps for healthy exercise, many of our fellow Canadians headed to national and provincial parks and conservancies to hike. 

How To Find Balance In Nature

We know that going for a walk in the woods is one of the best ways to find balance in your life. 

But what are other ways to spend time in nature? 

  • Paddling in a canoe
  • Fishing along a shoreline
  • Spending a quiet moment at a beach, lake or river
  • Having a picnic at a park
  • Doing a yoga workout or other stretches in a natural space

Sometimes all you really need is to sit in a quiet spot surrounded by the woods or along a creek. 

 

Why Is Being In Nature So Beneficial?

There are many benefits to spending time in nature. These are only a few key things that help you feel better physically and mentally.

Natural Elements All Around You

Firstly, you're surrounded by natural things, instead of concrete and metal. 

Consider limestone: it's often associated with grounding, or "earthing". In folk remedies, it's often a good thing to take off your shoes and stand on limestone rock. It helps you achieve overall wellbeing. 

So walking in natural places where you have the soil and rock under your feet can be a great experience for your body. 

Green Everywhere

Green is one of the most predominant colours in natural places: many species of trees, shrubs and plants all have shades of green. 

As a colour, green is always considered relaxing and peaceful. Studies have shown that green is soothing for our eyes. Where it's placed on the spectrum makes our eyes less strained when looking at it. 

When you give your eyes a break, you give the rest of your body and mind a break too. It's why sometimes spending a moment in a cool, shaded forest is good for a headache. 

Oxygen-Rich Woods

Spending time in nature is also great for enriching our oxygen. 

Consider all the pollution you have in cities and other urban areas: exhaust from vehicles, pollution from industrial complexes... even human pollution in the form of dust mites and skin flakes! 

The quality of oxygen you take in in urban areas is much poorer than in natural places. 

Trees take in carbon dioxide and release pure oxygen. It's why when you take a deep breath in a forest you may sometimes feel a bit light-headed. 

Here's the science as to why it's all good for our brains: fresher air in natural places boosts our oxygen levels in our blood. That blood circulates to our brains, improving our abilities to focus and remember things, as well as feel more energized. 

An Escape From Others

One of the last reasons why being outdoors in nature is good for mental health and wellbeing is that it's often done alone or in small groups. 

You're escaping being around your neighbours, and all the people in your urban area. You aren't dealing with traffic. Nor do you have to deal with the consequences of other's actions. 

You're free to walk, and do what you want. 

Prefer to sit quietly along a trail? Sure. You can do that. 

Want to go for a quick hike? Nobody's stopping you. 

You're FREE. 

And this is perhaps why so many of our fellow Canadians were spending time in nature and hiking so much. 

Spending time in nature - grounding on rock

Take A Mental Health Break In Nature

However you enjoy spending time in nature doesn't matter. What matters, is taking the time to get outdoors and to rejuvenate your body and mind. 

If you're somebody who's not really into walking and exploring forest trails, here's one last alternative. 

Grab a notebook and pen, and find a spot in a natural place like a provincial park or conservancy. Take in the surroundings. Take a deep breath and think about what's bothering you in your life. Write it all down. 

Without distractions from others and technology, and the environment of your own home, you free yourself to focus on you! 

So spend some time in nature this spring and summer... and find balance in this crazy world we're all living. 

***

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