Forest Bathing/Therapy: The Benefits of the Outdoors on Mental Health
Ever wonder why you see a boost in your mood after taking a walk outside or spending time at the park?
Many studies have explored the effects of forests and other natural spaces on people’s mental and physical well-being. Although exercising comes with its own benefits, you may also experience similar mental health benefits from simply looking at trees. Just doing a little bit of forest bathing – that is, taking even a few minutes each day to spend time outdoors and around trees and breathe in the fresh air – can give your brain a break from the mental drain that comes from our busy lives. Especially for people with ADHD, time outdoors can lessen attention fatigue.
Spending quiet time in greenery can also reduce blood pressure, stress hormones, and anxiety. Forest bathing has been shown to improve one’s mood and decrease depressive symptoms. Forests’ stress-reducing qualities can also help bolster your immune system!
Especially in more urban areas, exploring resources under your local Parks & Recreation website can help you find green spaces to enjoy. If you live in San Antonio, go to https://www.sanantonio.gov/ParksAndRec/Home to access what your city has to offer you! If you don’t live in San Antonio or are traveling, you can visit the city’s Parks and Recreation department.
Ways to engage with nature and improve your mental health:
- Go for a daily walk around your neighborhood or visit a local park.
- If you live in a more urban setting and have access to motor transportation, you can try out a new hike away from the city.
- If you have a backyard, set out a blanket and lay down in the grass. You can close your eyes and focus on breathing in fresh air.
Written By: Illana Issula