If you want to have a better mental outlook, take a walk among trees. Or, better yet, plant a few in your yard.
Dan Lambe, CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation, which educates people about trees, said that scientific studies in the United States and around the world document the importance of trees.
In an article he wrote for Treehugger, Lambe said a study in Germany concluded that people who live within 100 meters, or 328 feet, of a tree could reduce their need for antidepressant drugs. A study in Denmark showed that children who lived near lots of green space were less likely to develop psychiatric disorders later than children who lived in areas with little green space.
If you feel sad or depressed, take a walk in a wooded area. Being surrounded by trees can help to lift your mood. Trees are important for our mental health.
May is a good time to focus on the importance of mental health, because May is National Mental Health Month. It was established in 1949 to help people be more aware of how important mental health and wellness is to us. It is also a time to celebrate recovery from mental illness.
Many people silently struggle with mental health issues. Counselors, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists offer wonderful help for people who deal with mental health problems. But another, and perhaps less thought about, therapy is spending time among trees.
Stand or sit near a tree or walk on a pathway through a lot of trees. Focus on the trees. Try to describe how they look. Notice what kinds of birds are in the trees. Do you see squirrels scampering among the branches? Touch the bark of different trees. Some feel smooth, while others are rough or scaly.
After you have walked among the trees for a while, notice if you feel any different. Has your mood lifted, even a little bit? Make time in your daily schedule to spend time around trees. Even ten minutes will help. After a few weeks, you may discover that you feel less stressed, a little happier, more optimistic.
Trees are nice to have around, but they are more than that. They are essential for our health.