There are a number of reasons as to why those interested in their wellbeing and mental health would seek to embrace nature. Landscapes, especially those of serenity and beauty, have long been shown to improve individual health, relieving greater stress and offering purer air than the alternative of urban landscapes.
Some even find the pursuit of wellness in an urban environment counterintuitive, seeing it as a challenge to practice yoga or exercise in a landscape that can feel overwhelming, sterile, or crowded, which is why they will, instead, seek out nearby forests, mountains, and beaches.
There are a number of activities that can simultaneously be enjoyed outdoors and benefit personal wellbeing. Many are, in fact, becoming increasingly popular, as these examples might demonstrate.
Learning to identify plants and fungi, as well as sustainably and safely harvest them from the wild, has become one of the most celebrated activities among wellbeing communities, with many groups discussing the benefits of improving nutrition and getting closer to nature.
Foraging for food not only opens up the meadows and hedgerows but also the beaches and woodlands too, enabling individuals to collect seaweeds and mushrooms for food and medicines. There is also a great satisfaction that occurs when learning more about the history and detail of a local landscape.
Instead of practising yoga inside a gym, you can take yourself outdoors and be immersed in nature. There are a number of groups dedicated to this concept, hosting yoga sessions in parks, woodlands, and even atop cliffs, all with the intention of connecting more intensely not only with nature but themselves. For those without access to local groups, a yoga mat can simply be taken outdoors for a solo session, one that occurs anywhere from a garden to a beach.
There is great enthusiasm behind paddleboarding and it has quickly become one of the most popular outdoor activities. Some, however, are less interested in how the activity enables you to traverse the water and are more focused on meditation, using distance from the land and the motion of water as a way of heightening their experience.
Whether you take a paddleboard out onto a lake or embrace the waves of a local shore, spending time out of the water can be a great way to find a relaxing respite.
It can be difficult for those who don’t run to see the mental health benefits of running. However, one only needs to listen to the account of a runner to realise that the runner’s high is a very real experience and that wellbeing is very much a part of the process.
Alongside feeling better about one’s health as running reduces weight and improves fitness, there is also the process of feeling better about your self-image, a reduction in stress, and the enjoyment that comes from achieving new goals. It is also said to deter depression and anxiety while also improving mood