Green Therapy: The Positive Effects of Nature on Mental Health

Green Therapy: The Positive Effects of Nature on Mental Health

The primordial way of living has been disrupted completely in the last few decades since the digital age took over. We don’t walk or run like our ancestors, rather we sit for hours and hours each day. We don’t sleep at night and spend most of the time scrolling through social media burning our dopamine receptors. Many new studies have shown an increase in mental illnesses and conditions such as anxiety and depression since technology took over most of our lives. And so many believe the cure is in nature itself, it’s calming and harmonious sounds. In the text below we’ll discuss the impact nature has on our overall well-being and mental health.

Reduction of Stress and Anxiety 

The calming environment of natural habitats has a special effect on the regulation of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies have shown how cortisol levels are usually high when our body is triggered and put into a state of self-defense and survival. In big cities, work-related stress, spending hours stuck in traffic, exposure to stress-related content on social media and more are all causing factors of cortisol being released into your bloodstream. You’ve probably noticed the sudden cramping of your shoulders and neck muscles, a puffy face, dark circles under the eyes, and similar indicators. Also, if you’re having persistent belly fat, feel tired all the time, or are having anxiety attacks when exposed to the everyday traffic of huge numbers of people in big cities maybe it’s time to get your hormonal levels checked. Or even better, it’s time for a nature retreat deep in the woods or any camping site. Away from modern technology, away from the hustle of big cities. 

Green Therapy: The Positive Effects of Nature on Mental Health | Reduction of Stress and Anxiety | EcoBlog

Improvement in Mood and Emotional Well-being

If you’re feeling drained and lack motivation it’s because of overstimulation of your brain. Being exposed to the amount of data we’re facing every day is something our brains were never meant to cope with. Nature retreats, and going on hikes and camping trips can allow your brain to restart itself. A lack of stimulation means you’ll probably feel bored at the beginning which is a natural response of an overstimulated brain. After a few hours, you’ll feel serenity and calmness throughout your body. The sense of being alone, and surrounded by natural noises and a soothing environment is eye-opening and affects your overall mental well-being. The concept of "biophilia," which suggests an innate human affinity for nature, underscores the idea that our mental health is deeply connected to the natural world.

Mindfulness 

It’s been said that Socrates once spent a whole day and night sitting in front of a river without moving a bit, for the sake of contemplation alone. Mindfulness is a state of mental strength and well-being, where you become completely aware of who you are, what mistakes you’ve made, how you can improve yourself, and acceptance of yourself. Especially for people going through a rough patch, struggling with addiction, and combating inner demons often reach the state of mindfulness through meditative practices and exposure to nature. So, many rehabilitation centers are now centered around the idea of natural healing and exposure to nature to achieve this state of mindfulness. Many Florida depression rehab centers are offering a holistic approach to treating addictions. It’s about implementing a combination of different approaches from physical exercise to meditative practices, therapy, and community collaboration to help the person overcome their struggles. Nature is the catalyst of all of this, the cherry on top, the whole environment creates a state of calmness. 

Enhanced Cognitive Function

It said that the part of our brain that helps us orient better in our surroundings has shrunk as opposed to our ancestors a few hundred years ago. When you think about it, sailors in the 17th century were able to navigate the seas while only being led by the stars, while today we have GPS navigation and advanced satellite navigation to do the job for us. Exposure to nature has proven to be an excellent way to improve our attention to detail, creativity, and memory. This is particularly evident in children who spend a lot of time exposed to nature, as they show signs of intelligence early on as opposed to kids growing up in cities. Exposure to nature can improve focus and productivity as well. 

Promotion of Physical Activity 

Spending time in nature promotes physical activity and exercise. Hiking, camping, and other exercises allow for the body to move naturally as it was meant to. Physical activity triggers the release of many hormones affecting the mood positively and improving your overall mental well-being. 

Nature, its calming and soothing lap, has been a muse for poets and thinkers for centuries. Its importance has been recognized since Galen’s time. Many ancient scripts write and talk about the deterioration of man who strays away from the natural way of living. This positive influence is something we need to nourish and cherish.

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