4 ways camping can C.A.M.P.
(Calm Anxiously Manic Persons)
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “anxiety disorders which affects 40 million adults, are the most common psychiatric illnesses in the U.S.”
As a result in 2010, over 20% of Americans took medications to treat disorders such as anxiety and depression. With a such alarming statistics comes a greater demand for alternative treatments for anxiety disorders. So what if I told you that a camping trip could do the trick? Being outside in nature not only supplies fresh air and sunshine, but it can also spark creativity, restore mental health, revive concentration and decrease stress and anxiety. This isn’t our normal Fitness Friday topic, but it can certainly do the mind AND the body good!
FOUR Benefits of Camping for Anxiety Reduction
Exciting outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, biking and kayaking often go hand-in-hand with a camping trip. Exercise releases endorphins into the brain, which has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and act as the body’s self-made painkiller. Moreover, in a 2017 study published in the Frontiers of Psychology, study-findings revealed that regular exercise can have a positive impact on one’s psychological well being.
Socializing with others
A camping trip is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with family, friends and other like-minded individuals. The desire for connection to others has long since been hardwired into the human DNA and has actually been shown to soothe the soul so to speak. In fact, Psychologist Angela K. Troyer shares that face-to-face contact may also help one live longer, combat dementia, improve the body’s immune system as well as decrease mental health symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Build Perceived Self Efficacy
“I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!”…and so I can!
Camping forces one to try and do things that wouldn’t normally occur on a daily basis such as find a good camping spot, set up shelter, collect timber, build a campfire, cook over a non-kitchen stove, find and filter your own water and much more. So by simply taking the chance to try new things while camping can improve self-efficacy and in turn can positively impact anxiety disorders. Researchers also found in the study in 2017 that, “…feeling connected with nature and physically comfortable in nature is strongly related to autonomy and lower somatic trait anxiety.” I’d say that is a win-win!
Goodbye sensory overload
Overstimulation of the senses is a major contributor to stress and anxiety in the daily life of Americans. Camping allows one to remove unnecessary distractions, electronics and stressors in order to simply just be one with nature! Consequently, the stillness and simplicity supplied by a camping trip may actually eliminate symptoms of stress and anxiety.
So the next time you begin feeling anxious in your life, pack up your camping supplies and hit the trail!
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey