Life’s challenges can be overwhelming; we face different kinds of pressures and uncertainties everyday. These can greatly affect our mood and anxiety levels, and sometimes, coping and adjusting through all these can be difficult.
Spending more time outdoors, in nature, can help elevate one’s mood, reduce stress and depression, and help improve one’s focus and memory. Research and studies have shown how doing nature walks show a lower activity in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain region that is stimulated when we have thoughts that focus on negative emotions, and according to Dr. Jason Strauss of the Cambridge Health Alliance, it malfunctions when under high stress levels.i Ecotherapy, defined by psychologist Linda Buzzell-Saltzman as the “ability of interaction with nature to enhance healing and growth,” can been tapped as a vital resource to cope with mood disorders. Researchers from the University of Essex, England in 2007 conducted a study that proved how doing daily nature walks can be as potent for managing mild to moderate depression. In this study, 71% of those who took a nature walk reported lower levels of depression. On the other hand, 50% of those who walked on a busy shopping center reported increased feelings of tension.ii
We have different options on how to make nature a part of our lifestyle and daily activities. Combining nature and exercise will make our routines more enjoyable, not to mention having a boost in vitamin D production. Doing 20-30 minute walks in a park or on the beach on a daily basis, biking in trails, even gardening, can help us slow down and reconnect with nature. The soothing sights of trees, plants, and shrubs; the fresh scent of leaves and flowers; and the relaxing sounds of nature, provide a much needed calm, and help distract us from our worries and negative thoughts. Some people even conduct therapy outdoors, recognizing how nature can be a significant part of one’s healing process.
Aside of course from the beautiful beaches, here are some suggested websites where you can check out parks, hiking trails, and biking trails in Brevard County:
i https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature. Accessed on 19 March 2019.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085576/. Accessed on 21 March 2019.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature. Accessed on 21 March 2019.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco. Accessed on 21 March 2019.