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Ecotherapy: Nature as a Prescription For Improved Mental Well-being

Breathing in crisp, fresh air. Feeling the warm sun on your skin. Enjoying the calming chirp of birds and vibrant landscapes. Spending time in nature is an instant mood booster, and it’s a way to incorporate ecotherapy into your daily life.

Every time you escape to the great outdoors, you help detach yourself from everyday stressors and recharge your well-being batteries. Keep reading to learn how nature can improve your mood and mental health.

What Is Ecotherapy?

Because nature has a therapeutic effect on people's physical and mental health, almost any natural activity can be used as a form of therapy.

Ecotherapy, or nature therapy, includes outdoor activity and therapy programs designed to improve mental health. A licensed therapist or mental health provider often organizes and leads nature-based activities. The idea is that interacting with nature can improve healing, growth, and well-being. Types of ecotherapy can include:

  • Outdoor therapy sessions
  • Guided nature-based activities (like camping, fishing, or birdwatching)
  • Gardening therapy
  • Outdoor yoga or meditation
  • Guided wilderness hikes

What Is Eco Treatment?

Ecotherapy goes by many names. Eco treatments include any nature-based programs, including nature, eco, and adventure therapies (NEATs).

All of these ecotherapies can help you address mental health concerns in a safe and supportive environment.

Benefits of Walking In Nature & Spending Time Outdoors

As our world becomes more digital and often more indoors, it's easy to become disconnected from nature. You probably guessed, but the lack of sunlight, fresh air, and movement isn't great for our well-being. Ecotherapy programs help you spend more time in nature and improve your mental health with a professional. But, you can also enjoy the outdoors on your own if you need a mood boost!

Research shows just spending time in nature can improve your overall health and well-being by:

  • Increasing physical activity
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving your mood
  • Increasing feelings of happiness
  • Reducing symptoms of depression
  • Improving brain function
  • Reducing the risk of chronic diseases

Taking a stroll on the beach, hiking local trails, or gardening in your own backyard are all ways the environment can help relieve everyday stress and pressures.

Mental Health Benefits of Hiking

Who doesn't feel fantastic after a hike? Even when your feet are sore, and your legs ache, it's hard to ignore the sense of calm and accomplishment after hitting the trails.

Hiking is a particularly effective way to move your body and enjoy the health benefits of nature. Going for a hike has so many physical benefits when it comes to living an active lifestyle. But, like other nature-based activities, hiking is a great way to improve your overall well-being.

Grabbing your outdoor essentials and taking a hike offers so many mental health benefits. It can immediately reduce stress and help you feel more connected with yourself and nature.

Spend More Time In Nature

Don’t have time to garden or hike every day? Here are some small ways to spend more time connecting with nature every single day:

  • Open up your windows when the weather is nice
  • Eat your breakfast or enjoy your morning coffee outside
  • Practice yoga outside
  • Take your daily workout outside
  • Walk outside on your lunch break
  • Eat your lunch outside
  • Incorporate more plants into your home or office decor
  • Listen to nature soundscapes when you’re stuck indoors
  • Stargaze before bedtime
  • Take an afternoon walk after dinner
  • Ride your bike to work

The Environment and You: Why Mental Health Matters Outdoors

Enjoying the great outdoors can be a powerful tool for mental and environmental well-being. Connecting with nature makes people more likely to take steps to protect the environment. This is because when you're actively spending time in nature, you learn to appreciate it.

Caring for the environment helps ensure we preserve habitable landscapes and the natural beauty of planet Earth. It also helps us avoid exhausting finite resources that help our quality of life.

At Tru Flask, we created the Tru Flask Adventure Club to help foster a love of adventure in youth, especially those in underserved communities. We also work with Natural Restorations, an organization that hires veterans to remove trash and graffiti from Arizona's outdoor recreation and wilderness areas.

Ready to spend more time in nature? Shop our collection of water bottles to stay hydrated and help us care for the environment.

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