Why an Outside Hobby Can Help with Anxiety, Stress, and Depression
Millions of Americans suffer from a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and addiction. For many seeking a healthier lifestyle, it helps to adopt a hobby to replace destructive behaviors. That might include prayer, anti-depression meds, and ramping up your physical activity.
Healthy pursuits instigate eustress, the kind of stress that makes us feel happy, motivated, and vital. Depending on the hobby, there is likely a chance you’ll develop a sense of community with others who share your interests. Furthermore, hobbies are good for your physical health and promote mindfulness, release stress, and provide us with goals and the motivation to achieve them.
Today, Just Pray NO offers some insight into finding the ideal outdoor hobby to lower your stress and improve your life.
Thinking “Outside” the Box
While there are no “right” hobbies for people trying to overcome mental health issues, those who love a breath of fresh air would do good to consider something that involves the great outdoors. Believe it or not, spending time in nature can be very healing throughout the recovery process. Fresh air and sunlight are good for the body and mind. Generally when we are outside we are also more active, releasing feel-good endorphins and neurotransmitters for an overall better state-of-mind.
And the benefits go beyond helping your body heal after the damage of addiction. Spending time outdoors improves cognitive function, including short-term memory, problem-solving and creativity. Even just looking at photos of nature can help people. According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, participants who viewed images of nature scored higher on an attention test than those who viewed pictures of other scenes.
How to Spend More Time in the Great Outdoors
If you are unsure about what kind of outdoor hobbies may appeal to you, there’s no harm in giving anything that sounds good a trial run and just seeing what sticks. While there’s no overstating the importance of goals in one’s life, there’s also absolutely nothing wrong with just going with the flow and enjoying the journey with no discernable destination in sight. Have a standing picnic date with a loved one where you each bring a healthy, outdoor-friendly dish. Commit to taking your dog on more walks and explore different neighborhoods in your town. Do whatever you want to experience this beautiful world and establish grounding while also connecting to the wider world beyond us.
While you should consider a variety of activities that you think you may enjoy, also include some new things that challenge, excite, or even scare you. When you do things that scare you, you help reverse unwelcome neurological patterns. So for every time you make an effort to relax and spend leisure time outdoors, make it a priority to also do something new. Join a co-worker or friend who is into rock climbing on their next expedition. Go on a multi-day camping trip where you hike through a state park. Learn something new and add on amazing mental advantages to the physical and emotional benefits of spending time outdoors.
You can also extend your time outdoors to your backyard. Making your greenspace a welcoming place to relax and unwind offers the perfect chance to enjoy the outside from home. While simply adding some new lawn furniture and potted plants can be perfectly adequate changes, you could also consider larger updates like bringing in professional land grading services before starting a garden, building a deck, or extending your patio. Plus, with these types of improvements, you could easily see your home’s value increase!
Start Small — Be Kind to Yourself
While it’s important to live healthily, and it’s great that you want to turn things around, sudden sweeping changes in your lifestyle aren’t always best. That’s why it’s important to set small, reasonable goals and not be too hard on yourself. Outdoor hobbies are a great place to start because they encourage healthy coping mechanisms and get us out of our own heads for a while. While activities can be calming and leisurely, it’s also healthy to try new and scary things. A variety of outdoor pursuits both nourishes and challenges the mind and body.
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Article Submitted by Dylan Wallace firstname.lastname@example.org