Stressed? Feeling down? Need a little creative inspiration? If you’re wondering how to boost your mood, we’ve got a solution: Take a hike! Spending just 15 minutes around trees can give your brain a boost. Here are 4 health benefits you can get by hiking through a nature reserve, forest, state park, or any outdoor space that has lots of trees. Read all about them, find local trails in your area, then get out there!
Lowers Stress Levels
If you’re anything like us (and we bet you are), you could use some help dealing with stress. Luckily, we’ve got just the thing for you: Hiking. It’s one of our favorite ways to deal with stress because it can reduce cortisol (aka the body’s stress hormone) up to 15%. Translation: You’ll feel more relaxed.
But what can you do if you don’t live near hiking trails? Scientists have found that looking at pictures of nature can have a similar de-stress effect! Yes, being in nature is all about unplugging, but you can still get some of the health benefits of nature while online. So go to YouTube for videos of forests or scroll through Instagram for pics of the woods.
Makes You Happy
Whether you stroll slowly through the woods or book it up a steep trail, hiking is a great way to get the mood-boosting benefits of exercise. Beyond the endorphin rush (aka the body’s happy hormone) you get from working out, surrounding yourself with trees and plants can make you feel amazing. This is great news if you’re feeling a little stressed or just wondering how to be happier! If you’re looking for other ideas on how to boost your mood with nature, consider heading to the beach, going to a park, or sitting in your backyard.
Whether you’re a painter or a poet, a dancer or a DJ, we all get stuck in creative ruts from time to time. Here’s an idea: Next time you find yourself in need of some inspiration, consider going for a hike in the woods. Why? Because being with trees has been shown to boost creativity up to 50%. And if for some reason it doesn’t help with creativity, you’ll probably notice some of the other mood-lifting benefits of nature. Score!
Improves Brain Function
Did you know that one of the most interesting benefits of connecting with nature is that it can actually make you smarter?! Well, studies have found that just 20 minutes of hiking can improve the way your brain processes information. That means better problem solving skills, a longer attention span, and more. So chances are, a hike in the woods will help your grades, your work, and your daily life. Who doesn’t want that?!
If you can’t go for a hike, don’t worry. You can still get some of the benefits of being in the great outdoors without stepping foot outside. How? Like we mentioned earlier, videos or photos of trails, trees, or any green space are all great stand-ins. You can also bring trees and plants into your home or office to create your very own green oasis, light a candle that smells like fresh cut grass or pine trees, or listen to chirping birds on a nature sounds app.
Just remember: Enjoying the sights, sounds, and scents of nature doesn’t have to be limited to a forest. So go ahead and take a virtual trip to a rainforest, a beach or beyond!