By Brooke Jones
Spending time outdoors is a great opportunity to explore a new area, have fun with friends and get active. Turns out though, you are benefiting a lot more than you think. Here are 5 mental benefits from enjoying the great outdoors:
We tend to underestimate the benefits that nature can have on our happiness and state of mind. Studies show that activities performed outdoors make us feel happier than those same exact activities performed indoors. So, next time you want to go for a walk, consider walking on trails rather than a treadmill!
Ever have “writers block” or feel like your brain is “off”? You are probably experiencing mental fatigue. A great way to restore your mental energy is to expose yourself to a restorative environment, like the great outdoors. You’ll have a fresh mind afterwards!
The natural environment can also improve waning attention. By interacting with nature, you give yourself a break from everyday overstimulation and are better capable of concentrating on tasks. Be sure to take breaks when working for long periods of time and consciously chose to spend these breaks outside when possible.
In a time where our daily lives are full of high expectations and deadlines, it’s easy and common to feel stressed. Luckily, research has proven that time spent in nature can help relieve tension. Next time you are feeling stressed, go outside and go for a 5-minute walk – that’s all it might take to feel a little better.
Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can be eased by time spent outdoors — especially when combined with exercise. This is no surprise, as both nature and exercise are known to reduce stress. If you have a friend that is feeling a little low, consider supporting them by spending some quality time with them outdoors.
Brooke is a student currently completing her consecutive bachelors of education degree at Queen's University, specializing in Outdoor & Experiential Education. Her previous studies in Kinesiology also support her passion for seeking and promoting positive mental and physical health in the outdoors. In addition to her studies, Brooke is an executive member of the Queen’s University Outdoor's Club and founder of a Parks Canada Campus Club at both Queen's and McMaster University, projects assistant for the Ontario Trails Council, and member of the Queen's University varsity Triathlon and Cycling team.