How can we promote mental health outdoors because it is no secret that this generation has spent less time outdoors than previous ones.  One may ask “why exactly would that be a big deal”?  It isn’t necessary to spend every waking moment possible engaged in physical outdoor activity – but with the advent of modern technology, and especially within the past decade, we now have a host of entertainment available to us indoors. We have Smart TV’s, extremely engaging video games, and now VR, or ‘Virtual Reality’ systems that completely envelope you within a digital world. Amazon has made it extremely simple to order basically anything at our fingertips as well.

Entertainment has essentially replaced a lot of outdoor activity; while video gaming has existed since the 1970’s, the level of immersion available now, in addition to other useful technology, has actually tended to let us enjoy remaining indoors. It isn’t a knock against technology, as much as it is an awareness of the gradual shift that society has taken. You will be hard-pressed to find younger children spending time outdoors and playing, as most of our desired entertainment has evolved to indoors. So what can we all do to start reversing this trend in our personal lives?

Research has shown that when we experience activity, physical activity that is, and especially when it is outdoors, we improve not just our bodies but help to reduce mental health issues as well. This upcoming summer is the perfect opportunity to revamp your personal life and to make time for yourself! Whether you live at home with your parents, are a student in college or working full or part time for a business, we all need to invest in self-care and especially our mental health. In America, we don’t usually do a great job investing in mental wellness compared to other parts of the world; so now is the time to invest in yourself this summer!

Here are some useful ideas to get the most out of your outdoor time:

Take Up Running:

Running is arguably the simplest exercise that provides the most benefit to the human body.  Whether you are young or old, it doesn’t take much coordination to learn how to jog or run. Investing in your cardio system is a superb idea, and if interested in losing weight, it is a fantastic way to get in shape.  In addition, running can become a very meditative type of exercise, especially once you gain the ability to run for miles at a time. You don’t have to be an Olympian to partake in this however, and it would be a great way to engage in fitness and a healthy mind.

Hike and Experience Nature

Walking in nature has the ability to soothe the mind, and has recently been scientifically proven to alter our moods for the better. It is often very peaceful to engage in a hike or slow walk through wooded trails where you can experience the beauty of the flora and fauna in your local region. Give it a try this summer!

Limit Technology:

While technology is undoubtedly a fantastic benefit, too much of it can be detrimental. So instead of sitting down to watch several hours of tv or YouTube, why not limit yourself to an hour, and then spend the next hour doing something active, such as getting outdoors, playing a sport, meeting friends to talk or reading or learning a new hobby or craft. By limiting your exposure to technology to a reasonable amount, you may notice a difference in your mood and mental well-being, in addition to your physical health if you choose more active activities.

So take the time this summer to get outdoors and build a healthier and more active you!