There is a surge taking place across the wellness industry. Society has, evidently, become far more conscientious about mental and physical health, with individuals seeking a greater balance in their day-to-day lives. This can be seen in a number of ways, from the growing discussion of four-day working weeks to the destigmatization of mental health disorders.
As the industry and culture of wellness grows, more individuals are asking the question: what can I do to be healthier? While many brands might have you believe that their product is a panacea, nature is an amazing resource for restoration in so many ways and can generally be accessed both easily and without cost.
We’re sharing three ways in which natural landscapes can improve both mental and physical wellbeing, with the intention of getting more people outdoors and into the wild.
There has long been the supposition that nature benefits mental health. That, somehow, being among natural landscapes, whether immersed in dense forests or sat by lapping seafronts, individuals experience less stress and a greater degree of contentment. After extensive studies seeking to elaborate on these experiences, it turns out that the mental health benefits of being outdoors and in nature are very real.
Being among natural environments reduces anger and stress, helping individuals to feel more relaxed. Anxiety is seen to dissipate as a greater amount of time is spent outdoors. This experience is now often referred to as eco-therapy and is often suggested as an effective way to support recovery during periods of mental ill-health. Even being outdoors to experience the sunshine can mitigate or entirely nullify the effects of seasonal affective disorder.
A fundamental quality of natural landscapes is that they require a degree of physicality to access them. Individuals must hike to the top of mountains or clamber over rocks to access areas that are separated from vehicles and urbanization. As a result, to be in nature is to be physically active.
The benefit of enjoying wild environments, whether strolling through a local park or paddleboarding local lakes, is being active. Individuals may add leisurely walks to their routine, introducing a period cardio to their lifestyle, or even push their strength with a more intense endeavour, such as rock climbing. Being active, as well as achieving physical goals, also helps to improve self-esteem.
Our modern and urban societies have a number of benefits. However, along with these environments come associated pollutants and stressors. Noise, light, and carbon are common forms of pollution that can negatively affect individual health, leading to a number of issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments.
Nature, by comparison, can be an essential respite, offering a tranquil environment free from such pollution that allows individuals to enjoy clean air in a quiet location. As greater concerns develop about urban pollution, more individuals are seeking to increase their time spent in nature, wanting to improve their health and quality of life in the long term.