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Keeping the Outdoors Clean; Keeping our Minds Clear

Keeping the Outdoors Clean; Keeping our Minds Clear

Multiple studies have shown that spending time outside is beneficial for your mental health. Nature can improve your mood, reduce stress, fight off mental health conditions like anxiety and/or depression, and even improve your self-esteem. 

If you don’t typically spend a lot of time outdoors, you could be doing yourself a disservice. More people are living sedentary lifestyles and spending time indoors thanks to heavy work schedules and advancements in technology.  But, that could be contributing to a variety of physical and mental health issues.

Even if you do spend your free time enjoying nature, are you giving back to it?

There’s an inherent connection between our mental well-being and the great outdoors, but we also have a responsibility to give back to the planet that gives so much to us. If you want to continue to experience the healing benefits of nature, it’s important to keep the outdoors clean.

Let’s talk more about that connection, and what you can do to maintain your mental health by spending more time outdoors while doing your part to keep things clean.

The Mental Health Benefits of Being Outdoors

We already touched briefly on how being outdoors can boost your mental health, but choosing to spend more time outdoors can actually change your life positively. Some of the biggest benefits that come simply from being in the outdoors include:

  • Increased feelings of calmness and tranquillity
  • Higher dopamine production to increase happiness
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced cortisol
  • Reduced irritability
  • Better concentration

Spending more time outside can also help with muscle tension, as well as aches and pains. Those might be physical conditions, but they can cause a lot of excess stress and fuel a negative mental health cycle. Nature is a great way to break that cycle and feel better from the inside out.

You don’t need to have an excuse to spend more time outdoors, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. But, the more you immerse yourself in nature, the greater the benefits will be. There’s a reason why “forest bathing” is becoming more popular in western culture. Developed in Japan, forest bathing is exactly what you might think – full immersion in a wooded/forest area for a period of time. It’s used to reduce stress and improve feelings of happiness. While you don’t have to take part in forest bathing, it’s just one more way to understand the healing power of nature.

How to Boost Your Well-Being and the Health of the Planet

There are countless ways to spend time outside doing something you love. Everything from hiking to playing a sport is a great way to take advantage of the natural world around you. But, if you want to keep enjoying those benefits, consider how you can give back to the environment with every outdoor activity you do.

For example, do you consider yourself an avid camper? It’s a great way to feel like you’re “one” with nature. But, some people camp and take advantage of the land without doing their part to keep it clean and safe. Make sure you’re using eco-friendly measures while camping by:

  • Minimizing your supplies
  • Avoiding single-use plastic products
  • Buying used gear
  • Collecting and sorting your trash
  • Carrying reusable trash bags
  • Visiting eco-friendly campsites

Other outdoor activities that you’re already interested in can be tweaked slightly to be better for the environment.  Gardening is another great example.

Having a garden at home is a wonderful way to improve your life. Gardening reduces stress, improves focus, and can even be a great physical workout. It’s also naturally beneficial to the environment. But, you can shift your focus and keep the outdoors even cleaner by doing things like starting a compost bin, collecting water in a rain barrel, and avoiding chemical-based products for your plants.

Spending time outside is always encouraged, no matter what your hobbies are. But, always consider what “little things” you can do to give back to nature each time. Those little things can add up to eventually make a big difference.

A Sustainable Future Starts With You

Understanding the connection between your mental well-being and the great outdoors should spark a driving passion to take better care of the planet. Sustainability is more than just a trend. It’s a necessary lifestyle if you want to ensure a healthy tomorrow for yourself and future generations to come.

Think about stepping outside to clear your head or breathe in the fresh air, only to be met with smog and cityscapes as far as you can see.

Sustainability efforts should be a priority whenever you spend time outside. But, they need to carry over into other aspects of your everyday life, too. For example, consider the products you use every day for everything from self-care to cleaning.

Many companies out there are well aware of the fact that consumers are becoming more eco-conscious. People want to feel confident that the products they’re using aren’t damaging the environment in some way. Some brands have taken advantage of that by “greenwashing” some of their products. Greenwashing is the process of marketing products as eco-friendly when they’re really not. Some common greenwashing words and phrases to be aware of include:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Eco-friendly
  • Biodegradable
  • Sustainably sourced
  • Organic

While seeing labels that claim such things only to find out they aren’t true can be disheartening, it’s important to do your own research. If you want to make sure a product is truly safe for the environment, read the ingredients, rather than the marketing on the front of the label. By taking the extra time to make sure the products you use aren’t harming the planet, you’ll give yourself another mental health boost, knowing you’re doing your part to maintain a brighter, healthier future.

There’s no denying the positive connection between the outdoors and mental health. By spending more time in nature, you can improve your mental well-being and gain a greater appreciation for what the world has to offer. Let that inspire you to keep the outdoors clean, so future generations can enjoy keeping their minds clear just as much.

About the author:

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She writes about a variety of topics, and spends most of her free time in her garden. 

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Submitted Exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Frankie Wallace © 2022 crystalwind.ca

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About the author:

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She writes about a variety of topics, and spends most of her free time in her garden. 

© 2022 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

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