Improve Mental Health With a Nature Walk

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Victoria Bankowski
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Every day as I cross campus heading to and from class a friendly squirrel approaches me,  allowing me to take my focus off my studies for a few minutes.  It is not everyday that I have the time to stop and admire nature but every now and then I stop in my tracks and interact with the cute little fella.  It’s a boost to my mental health. I catch myself admiring the beauty of the falling leaves in autumn. In the winter my friend follows me closely hopping through the snow, putting a big smile on my face.  I am sure there is more than just one squirrel, but I interact as though this squirrel is my squirrel. I have even given my friend the name Skippy. 

Give yourself a break today and enjoy the world around you.

While I am outdoors, I catch myself looking around at the world and what is going on around me.  I look up into the tall trees or watch how the smaller plants sway back and forth as the wind finds its way up the walk.   I find that taking a walk through campus or a park has a way of taking my focus off the challenges I face.  It helps me recognize that even with life’s challenges I have a getaway any time I need it.   

The positive effects of nature help to reduces stress and improves mood.

In July of 2015, Gretchen Reynolds wrote How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain. She writes, “A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health.”  I believe this is true from my experiences.

If you find yourself down and out with a case of the moody blues, go for a walk and enjoy the beauty which surrounds us.  It is not every day that I get to go outside and enjoy nature.   But I think it is important that we all do.  Life can be challenging, but if we give ourselves a chance to sit back and enjoy nature, our mental health is sure to benefit.    

Life is what we make of it. Take time to discover the beauty around us!


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