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By Jack Carballo
There are so many indescribable feelings you get out on the trail or around the campfire. I for one can mindlessly ogle at the mesmerizing warmth and crackle of the firepit for hours. For others, it’s the tranquility of weaving between the trees with magnificent sights and sounds that paint your surroundings. The quality time and memories we make with friends and family out in the wild also make for some of the fondest.
There are also so many wholesome mental health benefits that come from camping and the outdoors, and are the reason many of us are so addicted to being outside and can’t wait for our next outing. We’ll cover just a few helpful ones to keep in mind the next time you’re hypnotized by a viewpoint or rare bird sight.
There’s a Japanese trend known as “Forest Bathing” that originates from a government scheme to improve public well-being and mental health. It involves encouraging people to pay attention to the special details and sensations of nature by using all of your senses;The way light passes through the trees, the warmth of the sun and cool breeze on your skin, the animals and elements you hear around you. This was proven to reduce psychological stress, symptoms of depression, and hostility towards others. Additionally, it can improve sleep and energy levels while lowering blood pressure and reducing stress hormones.
Another major benefit of camping to mental health is the sense of autonomy it brings. Being able to wake up and have an independent sense of adventure that isn’t dictated by day-to-day chores or workflow. It’s a feeling that just isn’t replicated by a vacation at a hotel or lodge.
Intertwined in all of these activities are the health benefits to exercising. A natural energy booster and stress reliever, getting those benefits while immersing yourself in nature will have you feeling refreshed and relieved after a long hot day.
One of the most important factors is unplugging from your regular everyday life and immersing yourself in natural surroundings. It’s easy to forget how heavily influenced our brains are by our physical environments. If you were to compare the effects of cars, neighborhood and city buzz, with animals, water and the forest, you’d notice vast differences.
On the topic of unplugging, this one is especially important for the youth. Being raised in such a tech-oriented world teaches people that a lot of things are easily accessible and conveniently reached at your fingertips. It’s important for all of our mental health to break away from this status quo every now and then to detox from the everyday grind, even on days off. The feel-good chemical in our brain, serotonin, which can be produced through stimulating activities like games or movies is even stronger when viewing sights of nature.
From higher confidence/self esteem to improved cognitive function, there are a myriad of benefits that outdoors and nature have on our brains. When you’re out there, it’s tough to put into words, but you can just feel it.
Working together with friends and family to set up camp and prepare a meal, or even just gearing up for the journey of the day, are some of the most fond memories you can make. It’s out here where passions flourish and grow and you can really reflect on everything. Take Rob Hart for example, who took his love for the outdoors and created something to enhance your experience in it - the Original Crazy Creek Chair.
If you’re feeling swamped, stressed or overwhelmed by your everyday life, be sure to consider taking some time off to get you and your loved ones out on a trip. The options for your adventures are endless, and there are so many sights and memories that await you.