Hiking and other forms of therapy to help ease your mind
From the earthy feel of the trail under my boots to the sound of birds chirping, I have found that spending time in the greater outdoors can be therapeutic as it challenges both the mind and body.
Time in nature can lead to health benefits through contact with the natural elements and the restoration of mental and emotional health, according to “A Low-Cost, Accessible Intervention to Promote Health Benefits”, a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
While that may be the case, experts suggest that hiking should not replace traditional therapy, but rather be incorporated as part of a broader wellness approach.
If you feel like you’re in a mental rut, here’s how hiking can encourage positive mental health:
Boost your brain
People who spend more time in nature and less time with technology are up to 50% more creative when it comes to problem-solving activities, according to research.
Unplug from the world
We’re always glaring at screens and checking our phones. Hiking is a great way to get away from the feeling of constantly being online.
Improves relational health
Whether it's with a partner, family or friends, hiking a trail together can bring you closer and help build a healthy relationship.
It pushes your limits
If you are likely to give up easily, hiking will be beneficial to you because friends will encourage you till you reach the peak. It helps you recognise your potential.
There are a plethora of therapeutic approaches and most professionals blend and customise them according to their patient’s needs.
Here are some of them:
You actively scream out your grief, frustration and anger, rather than trying to hold it in.
You put on protective gear from head to toe, go into a safe, supervised room with a bunch of items you can smash.
Anger management therapy
This approach teaches people to identify stressors, remain calm and handle tense situations positively and constructively.
This approach encourages people to be compassionate toward themselves and others.
This approach teaches people how to resolve conflicts with great results and minimal stress.
Holistic psychotherapy integrates other therapeutic approaches and focuses on the relationship between mind, body and spirit.
I feel like I need to speak to a professional, now what?
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group can be reached on their 24-hour Helpline 0800 456 789/ 0800 567 567.