“In every walk in with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” — John Muir
The year 2020 has presented unique challenges in response to COVID-19. For many, the most difficult obstacle has been self-isolation and lockdown measures, as routines have been turned upside down.
Although mental health experts continue to express their concerns, there are steps you can take to protect the mental well-being of you and your loved ones — and nature is one of the best places to start. For years, researchers have urged the public to reconnect with the great outdoors to support their physical and mental health, yet in response to the coronavirus, many are beginning to take advantage of the incredible natural world that surrounds them.
Across the globe, for decades, the amount of time people have spent outdoors has gradually and continuously declined. However, that appears to be changing.
The global pandemic led to a change of pace, and as the world began to slow down, a spotlight on nature emerged. Whether it’s because people have had more downtime at home or there was less human activity in otherwise high-traffic areas, people around the globe are beginning to notice just how calming and rewarding nature can be.
For years, our human-made world has caused a disconnect. However, research suggests that humans have an innate need to affiliate with nature. As reported in a 2020 Scientific American article, the ability to spend more time outdoors is an unexpected benefit of COVID-19 — one that can be restorative to mental health. The global pandemic forced people to reevaluate their relationship to the natural world, and for many, the benefits may be long-lasting.
Statistics show that mental disorders are 38 percent more prevalent in urbanization neighborhoods compared to rural towns. More specifically, mood disorders are 39 percent more common, anxiety disorders are 21 percent more common, and rates of schizophrenia are doubled. Although increased prevalence is likely due to numerous variables, including stressful city life, researchers believe that a lack of interaction with nature plays a role.
Numerous studies have showcased the relationship between nature and mental health, including the following:
There are so many ways to strengthen your relationship with nature. Whether you’d like to spend more time outdoors with a pet or encourage your children to appreciate nature, here are some options to get started:
Perhaps the most important way to reconnect with nature is to simply be present. Feel the wind and sun on your face, listen to the birds, smell your garden’s flowers, and truly connect in an intentional way. Also, be sure to encourage children to love nature, as they are the environmental stewards of the future.
If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental health disorder, please seek assistance. If you love nature, natural therapy options can be implemented into your treatment plan. The beginning of the rest of your life could be today — contact us for more information.
Walking through the doors of a center like Valley Oaks for the first can be tough. We work hard to make sure that your visit is easy, streamlined, and professional while still addressing your needs. The reality is that more folks are seeking help than you’d ever imagine, and for good reason. More than 80% of folks that seek help for common mental health ailments see significant improvement. Your journey to life’s peaks can start right now… and start right here… at Valley Oaks.
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