Written by Samanthalee Greco
The environment in which we allow ourselves to be in can either increase or decrease our stress levels– makes sense since the year of quarantine was stressful for most. “What you are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment is changing not only your mood, but how your nervous system, endocrine, and immune systems are working” (How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?…). Being in an unpleasant environment can add to one’s stress levels, leaving them to feel anxious and depressed with a suppressed immune system, increased blood pressure, and heart rates. If one was to be in a relaxing environment, however, those would all be reversed.
If having a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety, why wouldn’t being outside do the same and then some? Studies have shown that being in nature or even viewing nature, can reduce negative emotions. Physically being in nature “not only makes you feel better emotionally, [but] it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.” Nature also helps us cope with pain. “Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort” (How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?…)
Spending time outside can change one’s mood, helping them become more balanced, positively affecting their mental health. In addition to that, the fresh air, sunlight, and exercise does wonders for the body.
What does this mean? Well, it means that one of the best ways to beat that mental health fog that Covid-19 brought across the country (or even the fog that was there beforehand), can be helped in the most natural way– by letting Nature do her thing and help heal us. And what better way to do that than to come to the Park?
Lakeshore Park Conservancy is hoping to see its number of visitors continue to rise, the fitness groups that meet in the Park to continue to gain more followers, and groups of friends just enjoying the lovely view of the Smokies and the river from the Park. There are a lot of positive changes coming to Lakeshore, both physically and via social media. Follow along and let the nature of Lakeshore help heal you.
Alkermes, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Companies, and Takeda Lundbeck Alliance (n.d.).
The State of Mental Health in America. Mental Health America.
Delagran, MA, MEd, L. (n.d.). How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/