Nature and Mental Health

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Written by Jody Pierce, LCSW, ED

The old adage, “just stop and smell the roses,” is really great advice as it turns out! Besides slowing us down if we’re harried or our thoughts are running wild, the idea of focusing on and appreciating nature uplifts us emotionally.

Doing things that connect us to nature are often simple ways to improve our mental health. Some of the many benefits to our mental health associated with experiences in nature include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress and anger
  • Increased happiness
  • Decreased anxiety and depression

Summer is winding down, but nice weather will be with us for a while yet and experiences with nature can happen all year round.

You might be surprised to learn that even the little ways we appreciate nature have an impact. But to fully benefit from our experiences in nature, identifying one or two ways to incorporate nature in our lives everyday will make the most difference in our mental health.

Here are some ideas:

  • Sitting on our front porches or decks
  • Gardening
  • Hanging up a bird feeder
  • Watching the birds, squirrels, and rabbits
  • Taking up bird watching
  • Walking outside alone or with a friend
  • Finding a walking path to try out
  • Planting pots for inside plants to enjoy throughout the year
  • Taking photos of our favorite places
  • Watching nature documentaries or videos
  • Watching the stars
  • Exercising outside
  • Taking in our beautiful Colorado views; our sky, sunsets, mountains

So, stop and smell the roses and see how much better you’ll feel!