The modernization and urban development within the United States can make it difficult for us to find the time and space to get in touch with nature. However, even just a weekly stroll through a neighborhood park can benefit our mood and emotional wellness. Even though humans have only grown further away from the outdoors, being outside and enjoying nature has persevered as a truly therapeutic experience for many people.
Physical Benefits of Getting Outside
Exercise is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Going for hikes or walks is a great way to incorporate exercise into life. Doing so in a natural setting allows us to take in the scenery, making it feel less like exercise and more like an adventure. Taking away the pressure of burning calories and refocusing attention on the world around us allows us to create a more fulfilling exercise experience. Getting outside is more fun than it is work.
In addition to engaging the cardiovascular system while spending time outdoors, we also soak up other essential environmental factors. Healthy amounts of sun can work wonders on our mood and help the body make Vitamin D–a crucial part of the bodies’ functioning. Being outside also lets us truly appreciate the meaning behind “fresh air.” For people who live in urban or suburban areas, stepping into a forest and breathing in the clean air can feel like an instant refresh. The air outside of homes and away from the pollutants found close to cities can help clean lungs, improve blood flow, and even lower blood pressure.
Increasing Emotional Wellbeing Outside
Nature also has an incredible ability to influence our mood in positive ways. The tranquility found in the outdoors can relieve stress and allow us to separate ourselves from the pressures of daily life. When we engage with nature, we can connect with a world that is both distant and deeply intertwined with who we are as human beings.
The world we live in can often be overwhelming, making us feel trapped and even isolated. However, in the vastness of the outdoors, we can ground ourselves. The reprieve of nature helps us better understand who we are as individuals while also reminding us of how we are connected to the complex system of life on Earth. While outside, we can gain a more profound sense of our humanity and appreciate the experiences of other living things on the planet. This recognition of life and beauty can bring forth feelings of serenity, connection, and respect.
Connecting with Others in the Outdoors
Experiencing nature doesn’t have to be a solitary activity, either. Involving others in our outdoor excursions can be a great way to connect and form deeper bonds with others. The personal benefits we gain while being in nature can be amplified by sharing them with others. These experiences can relieve stress for everyone involved and allow one another to interact in more honest and meaningful ways. While we appreciate the brilliance of nature, we become more open to enjoy the magnificence in others.
Easy Ways to Get Outside
Not everyone has access to the swaths of nature found in national and state parks, but even still, there are many ways to experience nature that likely aren’t too far from home. Something as simple as taking a stroll through a metropolitan park can bring on the same benefits we get from camping or backpacking.
Metropolitan parks also often offer the ability to play group sports like soccer, frisbee, or baseball. Nature can even be found in your backyard, and there are many ways we can make the most of these spaces. Starting a garden can be a great way to get outside, absorb the benefits of nature, and form a relationship with the spaces we live in. Gardens are also a great way to gain a sense of accomplishment, and by planting vegetables or fruit, we can provide ourselves with fresh, local-grown produce. Yoga and meditation are activities we can practice in any outdoor space and can enhance our sense of connection with nature, even if these activities are new to us.
Fully Immersive Outdoor Experiences
For those interested in a more extensive experience, there are options like camping, backpacking, or day trips to large areas of nature. Spending more extended amounts of time outdoors in places that are as far from our stressors as possible can help us gain incredible benefits from nature and fulfill our sense of wonder and adventure. When we camp, we put ourselves directly into nature and make a home out of these spaces by eating and sleeping in them. This experience can increase the feeling of connection we achieve by being outside.
Hiking and backpacking allow us to explore more extensive areas of nature and take in more sights, smells, and sounds, allowing us to soak up more of the outdoors’ depth and beauty. It’s important to remember that these activities can be physically demanding. Be sure always to have the proper equipment and an understanding that nature can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Being outside is a proven way to increase our physical and emotional health. The benefits of nature can help maintain and rekindle our sense of wellbeing. For those struggling with addiction or recovery, getting outdoors can help you uplift your mood and gain distance from stressors. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call Rancho Milagro at (951) 526-4582 to discuss treatment options. At Rancho Milagro, we offer both detox and inpatient services. Our treatment center is located in the secluded hills of Temecula, CA, surrounded by areas of nature. Here, you will have access to miles of private hiking trails and the ability to spend time with our rescued farm and therapy animals. In addition to nature therapy, we also offer massage and art therapy. Rancho Milagro is home to a compassionate team of professionals committed to your recovery and will provide you with personalized care that attends to your individual needs.