This British group, Mind, ran a campaign in 2007 calling for “a new green agenda for mental health”, and published a nice report with data on things that should be obvious, but aren’t:

– Walking outside is more satisfying than indoors.
– People feel better after exercising.
– The more nature you’re near, the better you feel about life.
– Depression is a big problem, but has pretty simple solutions, like get off your ass and go for a walk outside.

IMG_4989All sarcasm aside, this is a lovely report with a lot of good things to say, like: “Being outside relaxes you, and it gets you thinking about different things, it broadens your horizons. There’s no doubt that it’s an immense benefit to everyone who takes part.”

It’s good to have these basic reminders of life well-studied. When a walk outside is labeled “ecotherapy”, it gives it a lot more validation.

I had a boss tell me many years ago as part of my first-day orientation that he would prefer that we take “mental health breaks” and walk around outside a bit than to be stressed out. I took him seriously, and I would take little walks throughout the day. He was surprised that I actually took him up on it, and I just wanted the excuse to leave the desk. If I had a desk job now, I would definitely have to write Human Resources to find out the Policy on Preventative Ecotherapy, just to keep them on their toes.

People need exercise, and we do better when we spend some time outside. There’s the basic premise of wilderness therapy…