Urbanization is associated with increased levels of mental illness, but it’s not yet clear why. It has been suggested that decreased nature experience may help to explain the link between urbanization and mental illness.
One mechanism [toward increased mental illness—Luke] might be the impact of nature exposure on rumination, a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses. Our findings of the effects of a relatively brief nature experience suggest that feasible investments in access to natural environments could yield important benefits for the “mental capital” (38) of cities and nations.
The above is from an interesting study Standford conducted. It details how being outdoors helps improve your mental health. Their findings show that it changes the way the brain functions at a basic level, changing blood-flow, hormone levels, and altering our perceptions of life and ourselves. Parts of the brain that normally light up when we’re having negative thoughts stay quiet when we’re in the outdoors. In other words, being outside “benefits human cognitive function and mood.”
In my opinion, it’s partially from being away from everyone telling you what you’re supposed to be—how sexy you should be, how much money you should have, how cool your friends ought to be…all that junk. Instead, you’re appreciative. Appreciative for being alive. For seeing such beauty. Smelling such sweet smells of life. Feeling gentle breezes.
Join me in the outdoors! Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray. (Luke 5:13)
With love, always,