Taking care of mental health should always be a top priority for everyone. And while we all have different ways to do so, nature’s influence for our wellbeing is universal: time spent outdoors is never a bad time, and regular outings are proven to improve our mental health. Today, we invite you to look deeper into nature’s effect on our mood, learn more about ways to experience some truly quality time outdoors, and find out how spending time in the forest affects our brand ambassadors.
Perhaps it is unsurprising to anyone that nature can help us feel better. Whether we’re struggling emotionally or mentally, even a short walk outside might help with that. Studies show that being outdoors can instantly reduce stress, boost our creativity and problem-solving skills.
But it’s not just being outdoors that matters – our relationship with nature is essential, too. The more we notice, think about, and appreciate the natural surroundings, the more mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy we are. Scientists use the word connectedness as a critical one to describe the relationship – a strong feeling of connection expresses the emotional attachment to our natural surroundings.
Luckily, it is something that can be learned and developed over time. Trying to experience nature with all our senses might be a good exercise. This includes not simply going out for a walk with our headphones in but rather taking the time to listen to nature’s sounds, touching a tree, and, you guessed it, stopping to smell the flowers. A conscious effort to reflect on previous walks and remember the surroundings, feelings, and various details also plays a vital role in developing connectedness with nature.
Our brand ambassador Jón Rúnar Guðjónsson – an Icelander currently living in Denmark – tells us he regularly practices experiencing nature. Here is why: “When you are at one with nature, when you start seeing all the small things, the rain drops under the leaves, the small bugs flying or working, spring flowers that are starting their life on the surface, you feel at ease. You understand that you are a part of a circle, you can interact with other members of it, and simply enjoy being. That is part of loving life – noticing it, seeing the beauty in the small details.”
City dwellers, perhaps more than anyone else, often feel a lack of nature, as usually, it takes quite a drive to find some untouched wilderness. However, urban nature can, in fact, be just as beneficial as natural. What matters is learning to make a conscious effort to go outdoors, take a walk, exercise, or simply chill in the fresh air.
The quality of nature is another important factor that can influence whether we take the maximum benefit out of nature. Whether urban or natural, quality consists of biodiversity – the number of different species of animals and plants, the amount of “green” there is, and whether there are serene landscapes to observe. Cleanliness is also crucial for quality nature – less litter is typically associated with lower depression rates and improved mental health.
Ecotherapy is a regular, structured activity that is based outdoors. While there are multiple definitions and types, it basically revolves around a particular activity rather than your health. It is an effective way used to treat various mental issues (as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with others) and is usually led by a professional therapist, but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice it alone.
The key to a successful ecotherapy session is to have a goal – whether to ride 10 km on your bicycle, conquer a mountain peak, or take care of plants and animals. Mindfulness here is crucial – it is advised to leave your phone untouched and focus on the activity you’re doing. If it is something more abstract – like hiking – you might need some extra effort to keep your mind from wandering back to your daily issues. You should actively focus on noticing various details in your surroundings, and don’t worry if you catch yourself drifting away – it is totally normal, so simply acknowledge your thoughts and get back to your activity.
Hunting, too, could be considered a form of ecotherapy. Here is why our brand ambassador from the UK, Phil Taylor, enjoys it in spring: “Spring really helps with your mental health – like most animals, we like to have some sun on our backs. And with the warmer days, with the daffodils and bluebells in full bloom, we know that the roe buck season is nearly upon us.” That’s a perfect example of making the most nature – noticing its changes, enjoying it, and having something to look forward to.
We’ve already mentioned some of the benefits of spending time outdoors at the beginning of this article, but let us elaborate on them further. Let’s begin with the basics – vitamin D. Often referred to as sunshine vitamin, it is responsible for many things in our bodies, including our mood. A lack of vitamin D can even lead to depression, and spending time outdoors is the best way to get enough of it. Even when the sun is not shining directly, your body will receive some of the vitamin, unlike when you’re inside.
Scientists have also noticed that nature helps with our eyesight. Being in green spaces counter effects the negative impact of screens we stare at so much, reducing eye fatigue, eye problems, and even headaches.
Being outdoors also helps our bodies’ natural cleansing mechanisms – wilderness helps flush out the toxins and maintain the good health of our respiratory mechanisms. Plus, since being outdoors usually means being active, it, in turn, helps to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart. Not to mention that those who exercise outdoors report to enjoy the process more than those who work out at home or in a gym.
And finally, the vast mental benefits. From reducing anxiety, stress, and depression, to increasing happiness, boosting the mood, fostering joy and calmness – nature is the best healer, and the more time we spend outdoors, the happier we are. Erica Egonsson – our brand ambassador from Sweden – also notices how being outdoors makes her happier: “Being in the woods makes me feel calm, all the stress and anxiety disappears. I always feel rich knowing I can go outside in nature whenever I want. Here, I forget my own presence for a while.”
Before purchasing any night or thermal vision device, please make sure you adhere to the local legislation and only use it when it is allowed. Our ambassadors come from various countries and travel a lot, which allows them to test different devices. We do not encourage or support the illegal use of our devices in any events. If you wish to learn more about export and sales restriction policy, please visit the following link: Export and Sales Restriction Policy.