Hiking Can Make you Happier

nature

We already know that light exercise can provide significant health benefits. But there is a lot of evidence that it can also have psychological benefits as well – particularly if you are doing it outdoors. There is a strong connection between the body and mind. Surrounding yourself in a natural setting can have a profound impact on your psychological well-being and overall brain function, particularly when its paired with physical activity.

I’ve always been and outdoors person.  Ever since I was young, I have always enjoyed spending time outdoors. Being outside and disconnecting myself from technology allowed my brain to relax and function without the distractions of the modern world. Without the constant beeping of my cell phone alerting me to text messages, emails and social media alerts, my brain could actually relax. And what I’ve noticed is the longer I was able to do this, the better I felt. When I would return from hiking, I experienced that my mind was much more focused, and my thought process was a lot clearer. I’ve spoken to other hikers and outdoorsy people who have shared the same experience.

So I was not surprised to learn that there is a lot of data to back this up! Several studies have shown that spending time outdoors can have huge psychological benefits. This is particularly true if you do so in a natural setting and even truer if you are disconnected from technology.

A recent study tested individuals on creativity both before and after a 4-day nature excursion, and found that there was a significant improvement. An article published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that the act walking can improve cognitive function.

Walking, preferably in a natural setting, can:

  • Improve creative thinking
  • Improve reasoning and problem solving skills
  • Relieve stress and improve your mental state

Not to mention the countless physical health benefits!

So if you’re feeling stressed, need to solve a problem, or just want to relax – take a walk somewhere. No matter where you live – even if it’s a big city – you can find a natural setting to walk. Go to the park. Take a hike. And turn off your cell phone!

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