- Outdoor spaces can improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, boosting mood and self-esteem, enhancing cognitive functioning, and providing physical health benefits.
- Experiencing the natural rhythm of the seasons and cycles of life can inspire feelings of hope and growth.
- Simple activities like walking in the park or sitting under a tree can create calmness.
- Decorating your outdoor space with artwork, wind chimes, and other decorations creates an inviting oasis.
- Landscaping, seating and lighting, entertainment areas, and decorating are great ways to renovate your space into something great.
The hustle and bustle of everyday life can affect your mental health. Anxiety, stress, and depression are all too common among many people. However, did you know that access to outdoor spaces can be a helpful tool in coping with these struggles? The natural environment offers a respite from the chaos of urban living and provides a space to connect with nature and improve mental health. Here’s a look into the general mental health of Americans, how outdoor space can improve it, and ways you can renovate your outdoor space into something great.
Mental Health in The U.S.
About 76% of adults in the United States are estimated to experience mental health issues. This is a cause for concern, especially as the number seems to increase steadily over time. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can have far-reaching effects on physical and emotional well-being.
The Benefits of Outdoor Space and Mental Health
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve mental health. Here are the benefits of it:
Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Being in nature and green spaces has been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels and increase the production of the hormone oxytocin, which, in turn, lowers cortisol levels. Simple activities like walking in the park or sitting beneath a tree can produce a sense of calm and tranquility within oneself.
Boosting Mood and Self-Esteem
Research has shown that spending time in nature frequently can significantly improve your mood. Experiencing the natural rhythm of the seasons and nature’s cycles of life and death remind us that change is necessary for growth. This can inspire feelings of hope and growth, boosting our self-esteem.
Enhancing Cognitive Functioning
For some children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD, time in green spaces can increase focus and attention span. The calming atmosphere encourages thought processes that sharpen cognitive functioning across the board. Mindfulness and cognitive rest, fostered by nature walking in peaceful settings, allow individuals to keep the mind from wandering and stay on task.
Physical Health Benefits
Beyond its direct benefits to mental health, outdoor space has also been linked to many physical health benefits. Regular exposure to nature has been proven to improve immune functioning, optimize blood pressure, and lower the likelihood of illnesses like diabetes, asthma, and cardiac illness.
Enhancing Social Connections
The natural environment allows people to connect by creating spaces for community events, outdoor games, and other leisurely pursuits. Being around others and having a shared experience outdoors can help break social isolation and build a sense of belonging.
How to Renovate Your Outdoor Space Into Something Great
There are many ways to renovate your outdoor space and make it a calming, relaxing oasis. Here are four ideas:
First, start with landscaping. Plant flowers, shrubs, trees, and herbs that you enjoy to make the outdoor space more inviting. Think about adding a water feature like a pond or fountain for beauty and tranquility. Also, if you have some dead trees near your area, it might be time to cut them down. Hire a local tree-cutting service to help you. Cutting down trees can be dangerous, especially if you are not experienced.
Adding Seating and Lighting
Next, consider adding seating and lighting to your outdoor space. Place plush chairs, benches, or hammocks around the area for comfortable relaxation and conversation with family and friends. Add string lights or lamps to add a warm ambiance to the space. Having enough light is also great for safety reasons as well.
Creating an Entertainment Space
If you want to entertain the company outdoors, create a focal point for activities like cooking in a fire pit or grilling. Get creative with it – build an outdoor kitchen or add games like darts, corn hole, etc., for added entertainment value!
Lastly, decorate your space. Add ornaments, wind chimes, and other decorations around the area to make it feel like home. Hang up the artwork you love, or hang a hammock from a nearby tree. The possibilities for decorating are endless!
Outdoor spaces can improve mental health in numerous ways. Spending time outdoors is more important than ever, from reducing stress and boosting mood to enhancing cognitive functioning and creating social connections. By renovating your outdoor space with landscaping, seating, lighting, entertainment areas, and decorating – you can create an oasis of relaxation in no time! So get out there and start transforming your space today!