Mental health professionals have noted there has been an increase in depression amongst teenagers since the start of the Covid pandemic. Isolation due to the reliance of social media, the stress of studying and worrying about the future are cited as the leading causes.
It’s clear that something has to be done to help curb the deterioration of mental health in young adults. And one of the leading strategies may surprise you: nature walks.
Nature walks can have many of depressed teenagers. Engaging with nature has been associated with various mental health benefits, and for teenagers experiencing depression, spending time outdoors can contribute to overall well-being.
How Can Nature Walks Help Depressed Teenagers?
Walking in nature involves physical activity, which prompts the release of endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood lifters. Exercise has been linked to improvements in mood and can be beneficial for individuals experiencing depression. Walking in nature releases endorphins.
Moreover, nature walks provide a break from the stressors of daily life. The calming and restorative effects of nature can help reduce stress levels, promoting a sense of relaxation and calmness. Reduced stress is beneficial for individuals dealing with depression.
Being in nature offers a change of scenery and a break from routine. This change can act as a distraction from negative thoughts and help shift perspectives. The beauty of nature may inspire a sense of awe and wonder, providing a mental break from depressive thinking.
It’s not a coincidence that medical professionals and mental health practitioners are prescribing eco-therapy treatments to patients that have depression for this reason.
Some forms of nature-based therapy, such as forest bathing or wilderness therapy, incorporate nature walks as part of a therapeutic intervention. These programs aim to leverage the healing properties of nature to support individuals dealing with mental health challenges. There are also physical factors at play.
Sunlight Exposure and Vitamin D
Sunlight exposure during outdoor activities helps the body produce vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D levels are associated with improved mood and a lower risk of depression. Spending time outdoors contributes to the natural synthesis of vitamin D.
Connection with Nature
Being in nature allows individuals to connect with their surroundings. For depressed teenagers, this connection can offer a sense of belonging and a break from the social pressures and challenges they may face. Nature provides a non-judgmental and serene environment.
Walking specialists, Sweatcoin, say that making nature walks more exciting by developing games to play can also boost mood and mental health. They even offer some brilliant suggestions you can adopt to even more invigorating.
Improved Sleep Quality
Regular exposure to natural light, especially during daytime walks, can help regulate circadian rhythms and improve sleep patterns. Quality sleep is crucial for mental health, and teenagers with depression may benefit from establishing healthier sleep habits.
Nature walks can be a social activity, providing an opportunity for teenagers to connect with friends, family, or supportive individuals. Social interaction is important for combating feelings of isolation that often accompany depression.