Mental Health awareness has become an incredibly important topic in recent years. With the introduction of Doctors prescribing the outdoors as a way of bettering a person’s mental health, it’s ever more important that we talk about how the outdoors benefits mental health.
Our friends over at the Camping and Caravanning Club partnered up with Liverpool John Moores University and Sheffield Hallam University to produce the Outjoyment Report (2022). This report is a study of the well-being and mental health benefits of camping in the great outdoors.
What we’ve taken from this report is incredibly interesting. It’s reported that 44% of campers have optimal mental health, compared to 31% of non-campers, with this increasing for those who camp more often. It’s also reported that 97% of campers say happiness is their top motivator for going camping while 48% of campers reported feeling happy almost every day compared to 35% of non-campers.
With this in mind, we’ve taken to offering some of the mental health benefits below of the outdoors and camping:
Being in the outdoors has been proven to be a stress antidote. Research suggests that most aspects of the natural environment such as trees, lakes, plants, the sea, animals, etc, are perceived in a much more positive light than other man-made environments such as towns and cities. It has been shown through heart rate, blood pressure and self-report measures that spending time in the outdoors helps reduce stress and ultimately improves both mental and physical health.
It has been found that when you wake up naturally with the sunrise rather than an alarm and go to bed with the sunset your body’s natural sleep cycle can be reset, giving you a better night’s sleep. Spending time in nature, like you do when camping, has also been shown to improve sleep by lowering blood pressure and stress hormones which helps create a better night’s sleep.
A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University suggests that the best way to combat brain fatigue is a simple walk-in nature. Studies have suggested that people who struggle with concentration or controlling impulses are better able to focus after being outside. Natural environments help us take a mental break, reinvigorating us and giving us more energy to concentrate. It has also been proven to help reduce the symptoms of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Research has shown that Mental Health Disorders such as Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and OCD are noticeably improved after spending time outdoors. Dr Kaye Richards, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University was quoted in the Outjoyment Report (2022) saying: “Camping connects people – to the outdoors, to nature, to each other, and most importantly to themselves. Positive emotions generated from outdoor enjoyment help to alleviate everyday stressors and promote feelings of life satisfaction. It is no surprise then, that the more people camp the more this can improve happiness and well-being.”
Less Screen time
Research has shown that detoxing from the digital world has a positive impact on your mental health. Often times when camping and exploring the great outdoors, you are disconnected from technology, intern improving your mental Well-being. Disconnecting from technology in turn meant you will interact with more people and stop comparing yourself to what you see online, all factors that positively affect your mental health.