The Benefits of Spending Time in Nature for Mental Well-Being

Nature woods

Nature has been shown to have an incredible impact on mental health.

Spending time in nature is an effective and accessible strategy to promote mental well-being, from lowering anxiety and depression symptoms to increasing your brain's performance.

In this blog, we will dive more deeply into the health, mental, and emotional benefits of spending time out in nature.

You will be surprised what a walk in the woods can do for your health!

Anxiety Therapists in Colorado

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Dr. Alana Fenton Ph.D., PSYC

Dr. Alana Fenton Ph.D., PSYC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Julia Rosales, MA, LPCC

Julia Rosales, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Alex Wiley, LPC

Alex Wiley, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Mallory Heise, LPC, LAC

Mallory Heise, LPC, LAC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Margot Bean, LCSW

Margot Bean, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Lauren Day, SWC

Lauren Day, SWC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Julianna Miller, LPCC

Julianna Miller, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Vanessa Curran, LPCC

Vanessa Curran, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424

Natures Psychological Benefits

One of the most well-known advantages of spending time in nature is that it improves psychological well-being.

Spending time in natural settings has shown, in studies, to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, boost self-esteem, and enhance your overall mood.

According to research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, "spending only 20 minutes in nature can considerably lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone." The study also discovered that people who spent time in nature felt happier and more energized than those who spent time in cities.

There truly is something special about immersing yourself in nature.

Research done by the University of Essex also discovered that walking in nature helped alleviate symptoms of sadness.

The study discovered that individuals who walked in a natural setting felt less sad, less worried, and had higher self-esteem.

These studies give evidence that spending time in nature can improve mental health.

Nature, according to therapist and author Ryan Howes, may help people "clear their heads and gain a fresh perspective on their problems," making it a great tool for those dealing with mental health concerns.

When surrounded by majestic redwoods in California, cascading falls on the big island of Hawaii, or crystal clear water in the Bahamas, how could you be sad?


Natures Physical Advantages

Aside from the psychological benefits of spending time in nature, there are physical benefits that can have an influence on mental health.

Spending time in nature has been demonstrated in studies to lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, and increase immunological function.

Spending time in nature can increase immune function by increasing the generation of natural killer cells, which help the body fight infections and disorders, according to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Another study from the University of Michigan discovered that spending time in nature can lower blood pressure and minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers discovered that people who spent time in natural settings had lower levels of stress chemicals and lower blood pressure measurements.

These physical advantages of spending time in nature can also have a favorable influence on mental health.

Individuals will be better suited to deal with mental health difficulties if they reduce stress and improve immune function.

We all know that a healthier body in one aspect will create a snowball effect for the rest.

So by taking that walk in the park and lowering your blood pressure, you can in turn burn some fat, raise your self-esteem and from there, the sky's the limit.

Increases in Cognitive Function

Aside from the psychological and physical benefits of spending time in nature, studies have shown that it can boost cognitive performance.

Spending time in nature can boost cognitive performance by enhancing attention span and working memory, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science.

The study discovered that individuals who spent time in a natural setting performed much better on tasks requiring focused attention and working memory.

These findings imply that spending time in nature may be especially useful for people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other cognitive impairments.

Another research from the University of Utah discovered that spending time outdoors might boost creativity.

The study discovered that people who spent time in nature were more creative than those who spent time in cities.

These findings imply that spending time in nature might improve cognitive performance, which in turn can improve mental health.

When your brain is running more efficiently, it will allow you to see more clearly thus allowing you to improve your overall mental health.


Stress Therapists in Colorado

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Joel Harms, MA, LPC

Joel Harms, MA, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Lauren Day, SWC

Lauren Day, SWC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Deb Corbitt, LPC

Deb Corbitt, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Andreea Felea, LPCC

Andreea Felea, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342

Experience Daily Nature

While spending time in nature is helpful to mental health, many people find it difficult to incorporate nature into their everyday life.

However, spending time in nature doesn't only refer to the top places around the world.

The ones that would require thousands of dollars in flights.

Even individuals who live in cities may interact with nature in a variety of ways.

A walk in a nearby park or nature reserve is one method to include nature in your everyday life.

There are parks and botanical gardens to explore.

While they may be a bit higher on the thermometer, even desert landscapes can bring the same effects to the body.

Another option is to bring in plants or flowers.

Purchase a baby cactus, get fresh flowers weekly, or even book a small staycation a few hours away from your home.

With hidden natural gems in nearly all cities, states, and countries, there's no excuse to not get out into nature and do your mental health a favor.

Conclusion

As you have seen, throughout this blog, spending time in nature can have a significant influence on mental health.

Nature is an excellent and accessible tool for enhancing mental well-being, from lowering anxiety and depression symptoms to boosting cognitive performance. Spending time in nature has psychological, bodily, and cognitive advantages that make it a useful addition to any mental health toolkit.

Therapist and author Ryan Howes says "Nature has a way of calming the mind and reducing noise that can interfere with our mental health." It goes without being said that by immersing yourself in even the smallest aspects of nature, you will be setting yourself up for success in the mental health category.

So put yourself first, go take a nice long walk in nature, or simply take some time to smell the roses.

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April 15th, 2024

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