Imagine a trail. The trees are tall and majestic. The sun is peeking through their leaves. Rays of light gently kiss your cheeks as the enchanting songs of beautiful birds fill your ears. The air is sweet, cool, and fresh. You cop a squat on a large stone, close your eyes and take in a deep breath. HUUUUUUHH HAAAAAAH You feel yourself begin to relax automatically and the weight of the day seems to magically melt away. Your mind is clear, all worries fade and a sense of peace and calm slowly moves through your entire being. This is the healing power of nature.
The Facts Jack
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and according to the American Counseling Association, “1 in 5 people will experience mental illness over the course of their lifetimes, everyone will face challenges that can and will affect their mental health.” Many of us silently suffer from bouts of depression, stress and a myriad of other mental woes. This can have a major impact on our health and our overall well being. In November 2020, Mental Health First Aid stated that in June of that same year 40% of adults in the United States struggled with mental health issues. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “the struggle is real.” The most common of those mental health issues is anxiety. In the U.S. alone, 40 million adults suffer from anxiety every day. As alarming as these stats are, the solution seems to be just as astounding. Studies suggest that spending a little time in nature may just be what the body and mind needs.
Feeling Down? Go Outside! It’s What Dr. Nature Would Prescribe.
Researcher and forest therapy expert Yoshifumi Miyazaki found that walking just 40 minutes in the forest, compared to walking in a lab, lowers cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol, a stress hormone, affects many functions of the body including the immune system and blood pressure. According to Miyazaki, “The forest induces a state of physiologic relaxation.” Trees and plants are also aromatic, which adds an additional therapeutic benefit much like your aroma diffuser at home. It’s no wonder we’re naturally drawn to nature. We intuitively recognize it’s healing benefits. And when nature is prescribed, there are never any side effects.
Be Kind To Your Mind
Now that we know how impactful nature can be to our well being, especially our mental state, let’s look at ways that we can be kind to our minds.
Take a Forest Bath in a National Park!
“What’s a forest bath”, you ask? Well, it’s just taking a nice stroll in a park or wooded area for the health benefits. One of the best ways to visit a national park is RVing. “But, Enviroperks, I don’t own an RV.” No problem, Loyalty+ members! You can use RVshare! RVshare is the Airbnb for RVs. Rent an RV from any family listed and save 25% off your travel costs.
Maybe the RV scene isn’t your thing. Wanna stay a little closer to home and still feel like you’ve roamed? Camping is a wonderful option! Immerse yourself in nature. Be it on the beach, in the mountains or in a forest, the natural health benefits will be the same. And, camping is fun! Especially when you’re saving funds as a Loyalty+ member! Log in to your Loyalty+ account and get 5% Cash Back savings on already clearanced outdoor gear with The Sportsman’s Guide! We’re feeling more relaxed just thinking about the savings!
Don’t Want Your Arteries to Harden? Grow a Garden!
That’s what Pop Pop used to say, anyway. Who knew he was right?! Lol. Not only is gardening great for your physical health but it does wonders for your mental health as well. Gardening in and of itself is a form of therapy and reduces anxiety and depression symptoms while improving your attention span. It also increases serotonin levels in the brain, which in turn improves your overall mood. Break out the shovels, Perkster, and dig into these savings! EnviroPerks members can grow your local economy while saving green! Redeem your points at local hardware stores for gardening supplies. Simply log into your EnviroPerks account and search for rewards near you in the Home and Garden category.
Grab a Rod!
Not a lily-livered land lover? Take a fishing trip! Fishing has always been a well known relaxation tactic. Be it the trickling gurgle of a lake or the serene scene of the ocean, as long as you’re in nature, it works! And Loyalty+ members can fish till their hearts are content with up to 30% off fishing equipment at Gander RV and Outdoors. Try it! You’ll be hooked.
Nature Naturally Benefits Me
The benefits of nature are innumerable and provide much needed relief from mental health issues like stress, depression, anxiety and PTSD. As we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, let us remember to take time for our minds and use the natural scenes around us to evoke the power of healing within us.
Jammica Boone is a writer and content creator for Enviroperks.