Photo credit: Evelyn G. Morales

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! We are sharing photos in social media  of #everydaymentalhealth activities we can do to enhance our mental health.

Turn to nature. What was it like the last time you were outdoors? Perhaps you were at the park, the mountains, the beach, the desert  or other settings with plenty of natural resources and animals? Did you get feelings of relaxation, calm, peace, quiet, recharge, being able to disconnect from problems for a while,? If the answer is yes, you have already experienced some of the benefits of being in nature. But there are even more benefits! A study published in Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science found that people who spend time in a natural area showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression. Another study published found that spending time in nature has a positive effect on aspects of cognitive function, including working memory and dampening feelings of anxiety. In other words, if you are feeling down or experiencing anxiety, nature can help you decrease symptoms (but is not a replacement for mental health treatment if symptoms).

How do I incorporate more nature time?
1. Take an inventory of the natural resources around you

2. Be a tourist in your own city and explore your own natural resources like our featured child explorer in photo spending time in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

3. Do you like to bike, walk, enjoy time with friends, read? Carve in time to do one of your hobbies in nature

4. Don’t live near trees or natural resources?  Bring plants into your home and surround yourself with things that remind you of nature like water fountain (or download water fountain app), rocks, etc.

5. Let technology connect you to nature when you can’t be in the outdoors but need a similar effect. Download the smart phone APP: CALM, it has soothing images of natural scenes along with refreshing and peaceful sounds.

Join us in social media this May as we share #everydaymentalhealth photos of activities that enhance our mental health. Share your own photo of an every day activity that promotes wellness and we will enter you on an online raffle to receive a self-care kit with products curated by us.

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