According to experts, a person’s mental health and wellness have a positive effect when a substantial time is spent in the outdoors. The outdoors, in this case, generally implies any place close to nature—surrounded by rivers, hills, mountains, or woods, or even great open fields. Nature is known to prove a health buffer against stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. This has positive ramifications on other aspects of a person’s life.
Here are the scientific backed benefits of nature on depression and mental health:
1. Lowers cortisol
As stress levels reduce, physical health improves. This because a walk in the park will not only lower the production of stress hormones (known as cortisol), but also increase the strength of the immune system.
2. Improves emotional resilience
Being close to nature also helps people with depression to develop increased levels of resilience.
3. Increases social connection
Children and teenagers who have mental health disorder experience increased engagement with learning. Additionally, their self-esteem also improves over time. They also begin to engage more socially.
4. Elevates empathy
Being amidst nature also improves the overall state of mind leading to reduced fluctuations in mood. There are also elevated levels of empathy.
Moreover, immersion in nature leads to better community feeling or interconnected with others. This is quite important since nearly every mental health patient feels a degree of alienation. The combination of nature with mental health and addiction treatments have been come to be called as ecotherapy by many mental health experts. However, this exists more in theory right now, than in practicality. However, there are a number of U.S. recovery centers that are located or have incorporated a lot of outdoors in their surroundings.