Could A Hiking Adventure Unlock Improved Mental Health? (Psst…Yes!)

(This post contains collaborative content.)

Mental Health Awareness Week may have come to an end but overall awareness shouldn’t. We know what happens when voices go silent, conversations grow cold and commitments go unfulfilled. As someone faced with bouts of depression, social anxiety and still facing PTSD, it’s almost like meeting a person who then listens to you share your experience and all you get is that look of pity, the age-old “Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that…”, never to hear from them again. The dead-ends and the awkward silences can be frustrating. Your vulnerability being met with well, nothing at all, can be soul-crushing.

And so, the conversation, at least on my end, continues on.

It’s easy for any person, on the outside looking in, to assess someone’s life and assume that all must be well. Even if someone’s life seems picture-perfect, absolutely no one is invulnerable to problems of anxiety, chronic depression, PTSD and the like. After all, you only need look at the high-profile celebrities that suffer from those issues for confirmation.

Even if someone's life seems picture perfect, absolutely no one is invulnerable to problems of anxiety, chronic depression, PTSD and the like. #mentalhealthawareness Click To Tweet

Today, let’s dive into one of the avenues toward easing anxiety, depression and so much more.

Eco-therapy is based on the concept of someone’s natural environment having healing benefits, and it can include nature meditation, physical exercise in a natural environment, and horticultural therapy (gardening and garden-related activities). Anything that can actively boost your mental health should be grabbed with open arms. It may sound odd at first, but a hiking adventure may be one of the greatest options at your disposal.

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You get a chance to prove yourself

If you’ve ever run any type of race (primary school P.E. class anyone?), you know all too well the absolute relief of reaching the finish line. Of reaching the end, finally.

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Everyone lives with self doubt, but completing physical challenges is a simple yet great way to change your perspective on overcoming them. Even if you aren’t a particularly sporty gal, hiking is a fantastic way to test your physical and mental strengths. While there will be some testing moments along the way, there’s no greater feeling than doing something you didn’t think was possible.

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Now, I’ve got to ask; you wouldn’t put on a face of makeup without a primer, right? We all need our morning dose of coffee to start those manic Mondays, don’t we? Preparation is everything.

 I’d say the key to being ready for a hike is to be well-rested and fully prepared. That means a full tank of gas, so to speak, and great-quality gear. The best camping and hiking gear there is? You can view them here. With a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel ready to tackle the challenge of a long hike. With the right gear, you’ll be tooled up for just about any and everything along the way.

That’s not all though.

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You get a chance to explore nature

Remember that chat we had about how much getting outside has helped me recover from a breakup? I don’t think I can stress the point enough girl, nature and the outdoors is a healing balm for so many things. Don’t knock it until you try it! In our tech-obsessed world, it’s especially easy to forget the simple beauties of life, some of which you can only discover when you put the phone down and look up and around you. Hiking trips are an ideal way to connect with nature and those surroundings. Being away from smartphones and other devices for a few days can feel liberating. This goes for the guys too, so take your best guy friend, or that special man in your life along!

In our tech-obsessed world, it’s easy to forget the simple beauties of life, some of which you can only discover when you put the phone down and look up and around you. Click To Tweet

You get a chance to help others

My first time hiking was a few years back, and with a large group of people. As a total hiking newbie I was nervous about the challenge it would be physically. Not to mention that it would be a particularly slippery slope (pun totally intended) as that morning was quite a rainy one. 

One moment that made me happiest was how much everyone, whether we had just met that day or not, helped each other out. Lending a helping hand literally became second nature (pun central over here ain’t it) as some of us in the group were less agile than others. The cooperation and overall friendliness of such a large group was so refreshing to be a part of.

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 Sometimes in life, helping others is the best way to help yourself. This is especially true when seeking ways to boost your mental health, Giving back to others is an ideal way to unlock a greater sense of self-worth. While there are many different ways to tackle this subject, there’s no doubt that hiking adventures are among the best.

 

On reflection

Remember, I don’t claim to be an expert. In no way is this post suggesting that a camping trip will remove all mental health issues. In truth, anyone suffering from mental illness on a regular basis, no matter what level, should seek professional help. Nonetheless, this type of break is such a simple step-up to feeling more positive about life. It also gives you a chance to reset some thoughts and emotions, and step away from anything that has been causing those miserable feelings and habits to arise. If you get a chance to take on this type of adventure, I’d say grab it with both hands. Grab some good friends to come along too!

 

Written by

Marketer, writer & lover of long chats over warm chai lattes.

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