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How Hiking Can Improve Your Mental Health

Nancy MacGregor MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS, Clinical Director

Summer is the perfect time to get outside in nature and walk. Any type of walking has increased mental and physical health benefits, but studies have shown that walking in nature is more effective than taking a stroll through the city. Hiking can improve your mental health as can several other active therapies. At Harmony Bay Wellness, we understand it’s vital to offer a variety of treatment and therapeutic options because each of us responds differently and has unique needs.

Hiking allows us to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. When we are out in nature, we are provided with a peaceful escape from everyday life. Research has shown that the constant use of technology and the noise from urban areas, disturb our focus, increases anxiety, and causes overwhelming effects on the body. Hiking in nature can allow individuals to clear their minds, reduce mental fatigue, and help us think more creatively. Exercising outdoors also correlates with feelings of positivity, energy, and fewer feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and stress.

Hiking Improves Mindfulness

Hiking provides the opportunity to tune in to the world around us. Incorporating mindfulness into your hike for 15-30 minutes allows you to feel more connected to the earth, sounds, and smells around while shutting off racing thoughts.

Here are a few tips for practicing mindfulness while hiking:

  1. Set intention before you start your hike- Before you hit the trails, set the intention for yourself to have a clear mind during your hike. If something has been on your mind, let it go for the time being.
  2. Focus on your breathing- Breathe in and out to the rhythm of your steps. If you feel that your breathing does not match your steps, bring your awareness back to your breath, and focus on it.
  3. Pause your hike if you need to reset- If you feel your mind wandering throughout your hike, stop and take a moment to reset and center your focus.

Hiking Improves Happiness and Motivation

Physical activity increases the release of endorphins in the brain which is known to energize your spirit and make you feel happy. No matter what shape you are in, you can reap the benefits of hiking. It’s important to understand that physical activity isn’t the same for every person. Some individuals need to exert themselves more than others while some are able to get the benefits of endorphin release with just a little bit of effort. Just 30 minutes of hiking a day can boost your mood. Keeping goals of how far you can hike every time you hit the trail is also a form of motivation. No matter what, however, there is a level of physical activity that allows you to feel better about yourself.

Learn How Hiking Improves Mental Health at Harmony Bay Wellness

To learn more about the benefits of hiking for your mental health, reach out to Harmony Bay Wellness in Clementon, New Jersey. Contact us at [Direct]. At Harmony Bay Wellness, we offer mental health treatment options for a variety of mental health concerns including:

Therapy addressing these mental health conditions as well as others can be found at our facility. Our compassionate, experienced staff uses a combination of therapies and treatments to help clients identify their triggers, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and ultimately overcome their issues to enjoy better mental health. Remember, looking after your mental health is just as important to care for your physical health. The two aspects of whole-body wellness are what allow individuals to lead fulfilling and satisfying lives. Here at Harmony Bay Wellness, we want to help you get the most out of your life.

Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.