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Mental Health Benefits of Camping

Why the outdoors can be good for you.

Nov 02, 2021 | Tips

For those of us who enjoy time spent in nature, it feels magical how nature improves your outlook on life and overall feeling of wellbeing. Sitting by a campfire, looking at the stars, hiking to that next waterfall, it can feel as if nature is nurturing your mind back into a place of health.

But what if that feeling is more than just a perceived benefit by nature enthusiasts? What if time spent camping in the woods could actually improve your mental health?

The science is in and that magical feeling you might feel when you spend time off the grid is based on facts. Today, we’ll take a look at the top four mental health benefits of camping based on research.

#1: Reduction of Stress and Anxiety

Across studies, one of the top gains of spending time in nature is the reduction of stress and anxiety. Those who spent time outdoors reported that their stress levels went down and their anxiety lessened.

In fact, in one study, over two-thirds of those surveyed said that they choose to retreat to nature when they are feeling stressed.

For those who enjoy camping, this is great news. Spending an evening away from the hustle and bustle of the city while soaking up the beauty of nature can help to reduce your stress and anxiety. For many of us, once we are in the woods - we unplug.

Less time spent staring at screens and connected to social media has also proven to reduce our stress, making time spent camping an all-around win.

#2: Lowering of the Production of Stress Hormones

Studies have shown that people self-report lowered levels of stress when they spend time in nature. Furthermore, actual scientific data has proven that when you spend time around nature, your body produces fewer stress hormones.

Lower levels of stress hormones translate to a clearer, calmer mind. This is why you might find that not only do you feel better when you are in nature, but you choose healthier habits. As your body reduces the production of stress hormones, you will naturally feel more inclined to eat better and engage in physical activities that you enjoy.

#3: Improved Mood

Beyond just reducing stress and anxiety, when people spend time in nature, they report an overall lift in their mood. This can be extremely beneficial when battling seasonal mood disorders or general depression.

In fact, according to Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, a simple walk in nature will boost your mood. Camping takes this to the next level, allowing you to immerse in nature for longer periods of time.

#4: Increased Cognition

Feeling good is a wonderful benefit of time spent in nature, but it doesn’t just end here.

University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman, PhD published a review which reported that when children were exposed to green spaces near their schools, they actually had higher cognitive development. The same study showcased that adults who were placed in public housing units near green spaces demonstrated higher levels of attentional function than those who were living in areas with less access to natural environments.

Additionally, the study went on to highlight that when people spend time in nature, their working memory, cognitive flexibility, and self-control were all boosted.

This means that your camping trip could actually help you improve your mental function when you return to work. It is also why after spending time in the woods, you feel more capable of solving problems in your life with a clear head.

Spend More Time Connecting with Nature

While research is still young in regards to how nature impacts our minds, the data we have thus far shows the incredible connection between humans and nature. For those who enjoy camping, there is a lot to be said about time spent off-grid. Whether it is walking through the woods, sitting by a bubbling brook, or kayaking across a lake, camping is an excellent way to refresh and rejuvenate your mind.

Looking for ideas to connect with nature? Try a few of these ideas:

  • Plan a phone-free camping trip. Have everyone turn off their phones when you arrive in camp and connect with nature.
  • Invite a group of friends out for a weekend in the woods. Connecting with humans and nature can make for a truly rejuvenating weekend.
  • Try a solo camping trip. if you have never spent time alone in nature, plan a short retreat and focus on connecting with yourself in the woods.
  • Test out a new outdoor recreation. If you have never tried paddleboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, or some other outdoor sport, schedule a class and give it a try.
  • Create a nature-based vacation. Rather than spending your next vacation in a big city, plan a week-long camping trip in a national or state park.

Camp in Comfort with an Antero Adventure Van

Feeling inspired and ready to head into the woods and experience all the benefits nature has to offer? Make your next camping trip one that is truly enjoyable with an Antero adventure van. Our adventure vans allow you to get away from it all with their off-grid system without sacrificing a comfortable night’s sleep.

Each van is designed to offer ultimate flexibility, allowing you to bring along your favorite recreational gear and configure your floor plan as desired. And, after a day spent unwinding and recharging your mind in nature, you can cook a hearty meal and sleep well in a comfortable bed.

Find a dealer near you and unlock the benefits of camping.

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