Effect Of Being Outside On Mental Health – When struggling with your mental health, it can seem like the only answers or help available to you in addition to normal counselling are expensive remedies with dubious results. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many free lifestyle changes that can be made to support mental health and wellbeing without spending anything at all, and one of the most powerful of these elements is the very nature that is all around us. At Horizon Plymouth, our experienced counsellors love helping our clients to work through their mental health struggles during sessions while also supporting their mental health journey by utilising the free resources available—such as the nature all around us. Below are some of the ways that nature can be used to help promote well-being.
How does nature promote well-being?
Nature inherently calms us by supporting relaxation through physiologic changes within our body. These can have significant carryover effects throughout many aspects of our lives and mental health, including:
- Lowered heart rate and blood pressure: Chronic stress is associated with persistently elevated heart rate and blood pressure, but time spent taking in the relaxing scenes of nature has been shown to help decrease these metrics. In a rebounding effect, these changes also lead to decreased production of stress hormones and improved muscle relaxation.
- Decreased pain: Humans naturally find images of nature interesting, and spending time watching scenes as simple as trees or birds can result in decreased feelings of pain, as it allows your mind to focus on something engrossing outside of your body.
- Increased attention: Quietly sitting and viewing nature has been shown to result in an increased attention span, as it provides a chance for our busy, often overstimulated brains to have a break while resting for later work.
- Improved mood regulation: Spending time in nature also helps to improve well-being by centering the mind and reducing the effects of conditions such as depression, chronic stress, and anxiety. It seems that these benefits are a result of the chance to calm and balance your mind free of outside stimulation and influence.
Ways to spend time in nature while benefitting your mental health
So, we’ve established that harnessing the power of nature is a great way to support your positive mental health goals, but how to actually put this in practice? Is it really as simple as just sitting in nature? The answer—luckily—is yes! You can choose to take in the beauty of nature in any way that fits with your lifestyle and interests, from walking in a park to picnicking under a tree. Even just sitting in a quiet area surrounded by trees or greenery is a good way to unplug your brain and practice mindfulness as you enjoy the calming effects of nature. If, during the course of your day, you notice that you begin feeing stressed, panicked, depressed, or anxious, taking a break from your tasks to take a gentle walk or sit for even just 15 minutes in a park can be a good way to begin to reset your mental health, allowing you to return to your tasks mentally more rested and centred.
While it is always important to seek professional help when dealing with mental health struggles, combining treatment from a therapist with the natural supports that are available to you can be a good way to supplement your treatment sessions and promote a happier, healthier you. If you are struggling with your mental health and seeking support, turn to the counsellors at Horizon Plymouth, who can provide guidance and support on your wellbeing journey. Don’t wait, contact Horizon Plymouth to schedule your initial consultation today!