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Getting in Touch With Nature Boosts Your Mental Health

By HERWriter
 
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It takes me back to the truth of who I really am; like the birds and the animals and the trees, I am not trying to be anything other than myself, I am not trying to measure up to anyone else's standards.”

She makes a point of taking time out of her day to enjoy nature.

“I find it quite essential to spend regular periods of time (an hour or so a day) in natural surroundings, where everything that is false falls away and I know what really matters,” Heart said.

“I find that answers to difficult questions naturally present themselves in that kind of situation. It is profoundly healing, always bringing me to a place of peace even when I am feeling very disturbed.”

Diane Lang, a therapist and author of “Creating Balance and Finding Happiness,” said in an email that there are several important factors to consider in regard to mental health and nature.

“We know that walking four times a week for 20 to 30 minutes is almost as effective as taking an anti-anxiety pill,” Lang said.

“Walking is that effective for stress/anxiety, but if you want to take it up a notch and be even happier, walk outside in nature. Nature has a calming effect. Walking around water is even better - water is relaxing.”

Being in the sun can give people their proper dose of Vitamin D, which in turn improves overall health.

“Vitamin D is great for our bones but also great for our mood,” Lang said.

“So, wear your sunscreen but get outdoors. Vitamin D helps improve mood. We suggest outside exercise and plenty of sunlight for people with seasonal disorder.”

Besides just walking outside (preferably near a natural body of water), make sure to bring a friend along so you can also enjoy the benefits of socialization, she added.

Tom Menditto, who runs a global coaching program, said he has used nature to overcome symptoms associated with five mental illnesses, and he currently takes no medication.

“I grew [up] near a nature reserve where they would recreate native villages and teach how to live ... like they used to,” Menditto said.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.