Mental Health and Nature: Nature Therapy

This year’s World Forestry Conference presented interesting findings about the connection between forests (and other green spaces) and both mental and physical health. Incorporating daily ‘nature therapy’ through time spent outdoors may help people remain physically healthier and more psychologically balanced. Researchers have found that in outdoor settings, stress hormone levels, blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate all decrease faster than they do indoors. Likewise, symptoms of depression, aggressiveness, and anger (in adults) and ADHD (in children) are all lowered in green environments. Accessible forests and urban green spaces aren’t full-fledge solutions to mental and physical health problems, but they are environments that certainly do promote health. Regularly time spent outdoors may serve as a sort of mini-therapy, allowing both mind and body to recalibrate.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

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  • Lorraine

    Lorraine

    July 29th, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    There;s nothing like green cover and fresh air that can rid me of my tensions and problems playing in my head.I just love going out and enjoying nature whenever I feel stressed.

  • Kayla

    Kayla

    July 30th, 2010 at 4:46 AM

    This is so zen and relaxing but there are many of us myself included that have totally forgotten how to relax or even the benfits that taking a chill pill from time to time can be. This is what makes life rewarding and special, kind of like the article about taking the time to appreciate the simplicity that life can offer. Nature can do the same thing. Take in the beauty that surrounds us that we all tend to ignore every day. And think of how inconsequential the rest of your problems are when comepared to that magnificence! Kind oftakes your breath away.

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