If you love hiking / trekking like me, you will know that it is contagious for life! A dense forest or a mountain can cleanse your body, mind and soul, you feel fresh, relaxed and come back wanting for more. Science is now discovering that hiking/trekking can actually change your brain …. for the better! You will be fitter, happier and more creative – I definitely am 🙂
But if you haven’t discovered the love for it yet – then here’s why you should connect to nature this summer:
Trail walks, Hikes in mountains – they can treat negative thoughts
The constant pace of my life – surprises me, makes me think, wants me to stop. I like rhythm but not being pulled in every direction. Which is what is happening more often than not! There are obsessive, negative, anxious and loaded thoughts. These thoughts can lead us down to depression and anxiety. A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin. But what happens when you look at something like this?
You disconnect and declutter (from too many people and routine)
Here there is a blue sky, boulder fields, a broken track, a true vision of snow clad mountains, your thoughts and you! Taking the time to regularly remove ourselves from urban settings and spend more time in nature can greatly benefit our psychological (and physical) well-being. Cut yourself up from your routine to do something different. You are going to go back – happy, clear headed and more productive.
Disconnect from Technology and Boost Creativity
The phrase “google it” – I definitely didn’t grow up with it! But live it billion times a day! It makes life easy. Some of us like me, have seen days before google, where we learned the hard way by doing it. Going deep into the mountains- Without looking at your phone, you start de-cluttering- but first you need to disconnect! A study conducted by psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer found that creative problem solving can be drastically improved by both disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature. The researchers of this study noted that both technology and urban noise are incredibly disruptive, constantly demanding our attention and preventing us from focusing, all of which can be taxing to our cognitive functions.
Outdoor Activities help Children with ADHD
While growing up the only source of entertainment we had was the evening play time with friends at the nearest park. With the influx of technology, most kids are hooked to the mobile device or a transmitting device. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is becoming more and more common among children. ADHD is a disease and it needs to be treated with proper medical support. Studies have suggested that natural solutions can work just as well. Exposing children with ADHD to “green outdoor activities” reduces symptoms significantly. Infact exposure to nature can benefit anyone who has a difficult time paying attention and/or exhibits impulsive behaviour.
Build willpower to accept new challenges
The weather will change suddenly, the elevation will tire the hell out of you, it will get wet with rain, cold, windy, you’ll get more hungry than usual – you will go through a whole lot – and still come out happier and stronger. You’ll feel very small because nature is overwhelming. But by the end of the day, when you hit your tent in the wilderness or your bed (after a long day’s trail walk) – You’ll know that your survived it pretty well. No one will understand what you went through, how tough your struggles were and yet how happy you are to have made it to the top of the mountain or to the end of the trail. Only you know – your strengths and how gradually you are breaking your own mental and physical walls!
What are you thinking, start now:
You don’t have to spend hell lot of money for hiking, unless you are climbing one of world’s peaks! Do what works for you — if that means just walking through trails in a park near your home, that’s fine – If it means travelling 7 hours into deep mountains – do that. If It’s a trail walk you’ve chosen, remember to switch off your phone.
Do some research on the trek or the hike you are doing, depending on the weather you might need appropriate clothing, bottle of water, a good pair of shoes. If you are doing uneven trail or mountain trail, take trek poles, it will help you climbing up or down, less impact on your knees.
Go out enjoy and happy trailing-trekking-hiking-climbing, I am anyway googling my next hike and leaving you with some of my photos from my treks and trail hikes!