All too often, we overlook our relationship with nature. It can be challenging to make time to go outside for a thirty-minute stroll when you have work, chores, and a family to come home to every day. This is all very understandable. But by reconnecting with the great outdoors and all that it has to offer, you can begin to experience a significant shift in your mental health. Studies have found that all things — nature, the sun, a cool breeze, plants, flowers, trees, whatever it may be — can positively affect mental health, specifically depression and anxiety. In this blog, we dive into exactly how nature can help calm and strengthen the mind.
Nature Soothes Mental Health
One of the best things about connecting with nature and absorbing all it offers is that it helps people cope with pain. As part of an environment, something as simple as trees, water, plans, and other natural elements can bring joy and allow individuals to focus on something else as opposed to their discomfort or pain. Nature not only benefits the mind, but it can also help cope and get through physical pain. People who regularly try to connect with their natural surroundings are found to have more positive thoughts and focus less on any pain they are experiencing.
Nature can offer significant effects on the mind almost immediately. Several studies show that nature is often associated with a positive mood, psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality. After spending some time outside, you might notice a change in your mood. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, try going outside for a bit, and you may start feeling more calm and balanced.
Additionally, spending time with nature allows us to increase our ability to maintain focus. This is due to the fact that nature is often interesting to humans, allowing them to discover more and more about their environment. In turn, this can help treat an overactive mind, refreshing it overall.
And it connects.
It is important to spend as much time as possible outside because it encourages individuals to reconnect with the world and with others. Studies have shown that individuals who had trees and greenery surrounding their homes have stronger feelings of unity, feel more concerned with helping and supporting others, and have stronger feelings of belonging to nature and their surroundings. This can help treat dissociation, which is a symptom that often occurs in those who suffer from anxiety or depression. Even better, the more connected we are with nature, the calmer we can be when dealing with the demands and stressors of life.
The Outdoors Encourages Gratitude
A practice that is often encouraged when someone is battling depression and anxiety is gratitude. The more grateful we can be, the more we can look forward to life, ultimately lifting our spirits and maintaining a positive outlook. With nature right outside our door, we can practice mindfulness and gratitude all at the same time. Nature provides the peace and quiet we need at times to clear our minds of unnecessary worries, anxiety, anger, and tension. To make things even easier, staying consistent with exercise can be done outside, which is key when it comes to battling and overcoming depression.
Benefits of “High Quality” Natural Spaces
“High quality” natural spaces refer to higher biodiversity, meaning more plants and wildlife. Whether you live in a more rural or urban setting, these characteristics of nature are particularly crucial to the healing process. This is because high-quality spaces are often those that feel most serene, calming, and comfortable. With cleanliness and wide-open spaces outside to spend some time alone, we can better face depression.
“High Quality” Nature Isn’t Equally Available
When individuals do not have a high-quality space of nature or a lack of biodiversity, it can be harder to connect with nature as much as wanted or needed. Often, people that live in predominantly urban areas feel less inclined to connect with nature. Therefore they will feel less inclined to connect with others and loved ones. If biodiversity is limited, try finding ways to bring nature to you. You can start a garden, bring plants into your home, or even help recreate natural habitats in your community.
Start Your Journey to Healthier Mental Health with Latinx Talk Therapy
Mental health plays a great deal in our lives, but thankfully, there are many ways that you can treat your wellbeing and your mind. Here at Latinx Talk Therapy, we care about your goals, and more importantly, we want to help you meet them. If you’re ready to start working on your mental health, contact us today to learn more.