Many people experience symptoms of anxiety in day to day life and these are often compounded by the ‘always on’ lifestyle that so many people lead.
Recent studies in the United States found that over 18% of the US population are affected by anxiety every year, with many of the causes being attributed to lifestyle and life events. If this is repeated globally then there are lots of people experiencing anxiety due to their lifetyles.
With this in mind many wonder if an escape to the great outdoors would help and if camping is good for anxiety levels?
Camping can be a great anxiety reliever for many people. Being away from the regular stresses of everyday life and the expectations of others can be just the break that so many people hunger for. Researchers at the University of Michigan, published in Ecopsychology, found that just a few minutes spent outside in nature reduced anxiety and stress levels in participants. So, yes camping is good for anxiety.
There are many ways to relieve anxiety with things such as meditation, counselling and medication being common options for sufferers.
You should always consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional if you experience symptoms of anxiety and you are finding things to be difficult.
Camping makes you disconnect
Getting rid of the tech has massive benefits. Research suggests that too much tech and screen time can have a detrimental affect on quality of sleep and rest times.
Not only that but being constantly available through mobile phones and email provides little, if any, opportunity to get away and switch off and most people waste vast amounts of time sitting in front of computers or fiddling with portable devices, never really achieving much, other than wasting their days.
Camping can pull you out of the technology dependant routine that you may be engrossed in.
By leaving devices at home and choosing a location where phone coverage is poor, you will force yourself to break the addiction and, as a result, will be able to focus on the important things of life and nature.
Camping gets you outside
Research suggests that low blood oxygen levels can contribute to anxiety.
With significant numbers of people spending more and more time indoors, both at home and work, the importance of simple fresh air is often forgotten about.
Clearly going camping provides ample opportunity to get plenty of fresh air and oxygen into your lungs. A night under canvas in a tent is almost like sleeping outside meaning that you’ll benefit from round the clock fresh air.
Not only will this help you to feel rejunvenated and possibly less stressed, you’ll also feel more relaxed and, at the end of the day, tired, so you’ll enjoy better, more restful sleep.
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Camping helps you to live in the moment
Most people worry about future events and, for some, they worry so much that they fail to see what is around them right at that moment.
A camping trip can help to put you right back in the moment, just like when you were younger, playing with friends on warm summer days.
Just heading off for an unplanned walk, along a trail or the beach, not governed by the clock and with no plan as to where you are going to end up – this can be a real joy of camping and it’s an easy thing to do if you are willing to try.
You’re not tied to a desk, a phone or anyone else’s expectations – you are free to head off and return as you please.
Camping can help you to enjoy some ‘carefree’ time and allow you to reconnect with the important things in life.
Nature is good for you
Simply being around nature is good for you, both physically and mentally. It is particularly good for those people that live in towns or cities or who don’t get out and about much.
A study at Stanford University found that spending time outdoors can help to reduce negative thinking that can lead to mental illness.
With more than 50% of people now living in urban areas where access to nature can be difficult, camping is one way to connect effectively with nature.
Camping can create a sense of awe
As humans we appreciate wonder and thrill and whenever we see something wonderful we cannot resist but to stop and gaze.
It could be the mountains, a great sea view, the sky at night, fantastic landscapes and camping provides great opportunities to do this.
The time out in the countryside can offer almost deafening silence, clear night skies, breathtaking views and opportunities to witness wildlife.
Research has even shown that awe inspiring moments can make us happier, less stressed and even more creative.
You’ll increase your activity levels
It’s hard to be a couch potato when you camp. Getting out and about is all part of the experience whether you are wildcamping or camping on a purpose made campsite.
Going for a walk or a longer trek will get you moving and you’ll also benefit from the fresh air and sunlight. If you like more gruelling challenges then you can run, maybe swim or enjoy a whole range of other outdoor activities.
Your increased activity levels will help to boost your body’s natural endorphin levels which will help to lighten your mood too.
You will sleep better
You quality of sleep will improve when you camp. The combinations of fresh air and increased levels of activity will aid a better night’s sleep.
Being disconnected from electrical devices will allow your brain to refocus and remove distractions.
You will adopt a more natural lifestyle as well, waking up earlier when it becomes light and going to bed when it goes dark.
Even if you have sources of artificial light, you’ll hit the sack earlier and wake earlier and research posted in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggested that greater connection with daylight can help to improve mood and sleep quality.
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Camping is different to normal life
It’s only in recent centuries that we have lived in houses or apartments and getting back to nature in the way that camping offers, is probably a natural act that many of us should try more often.
Just experiencing something different, taking a break from the ‘normality’ of daily life, can be the tonic that so many of us can benefit from.
For me, personally, camping provides a great opportunity to switch off and simply enjoy time, in nature away from the white noise of modern life.
There appears to be little to question whether or not camping can help with anxiety.
The benefits of spending time outdoors have been subjected to varying aspects of research which suggest that camping can improve and aid mental health.
On a personal level, I can vouch for the benefits of camping and, if you need a tonic to help you to improve your anxiety levels, I recommend that you give camping a try, even if only for a short period.
I hope that it works for you as it works for me.