Mental health decline is one of the major health problems that we have in today’s society and it is no surprise given all the sensory input and mental stress we go through every day. There are treatments for mental health conditions but preventive care is a far much better option.
Scientists from the University of Exeter recently concluded a study whose findings suggest that time spent in nature is therapeutic. The research aimed to determine whether there was a correlation between mental health and contact with nature, particularly how it would influence people suffering from mental health illnesses.
The researchers observed that spending time in nature does provide numerous benefits. The research featured data collected from over 18,000 individuals from 18 countries. They sought to understand why people are motivated to step into the outdoors and enjoy time in nature, and also the impact of social pressure on people’s emotional experiences when they spend time in nature.
Many people already consider nature to be therapeutic
The researchers found that quite a number of depressed people already use nature as an escape that offers therapeutic relief. It essentially means that some people use nature to manage their stress, anxiety or depression. However, the findings also indicate that people are less motivated to visit nature and even more anxious if they were pressured to visit. In that case, the benefits were less pronounced.
Scientists are convinced that the findings present enough evidence of the benefits of nature as a mental health management strategy. Medical practitioners in the future might recommend that patients with mental health illnesses should spend more time in the natural outdoors as part of the therapeutic approach. Dr. Ann Ojala believes that the findings highlight the need for more research on the matter.
The findings also demonstrate why motivation is a vital part of the process and thus one should not force nature’s therapy. Nevertheless, nature seems to be a good therapeutic approach to easing the symptoms of mental illnesses and perhaps it might soon be included in prescriptions.Integration with other types of mental health treatments might allow patients to overcome the challenges associated with mental disorders across the globe.