The Expert Angle

Mental Health Wellness; Getting outside

Mental Health Wellness; Getting outside

Posted on: June 3, 2021 | By: Richard Lange, Ph.D., LPC, LCSW

If you are looking for a quick mental health boost, researchers recommend getting outside.   They have shown that just being outside can help people feel more mentally healthy. It feels that science has caught up with what people already know: how many times have you, when you felt upset, just wanted to “get some fresh air.” Well, it turns out that it works.

Researchers have shown that being outside can reduce muscle tension and blood pressure, boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, and makes us more creative.  Plus, it does not take much time for this to happen. While ideally one should be outside for up to an hour to get the full benefits, the benefit can kick in as little as fifteen minutes. 

Here are some tips to help you get started. The best, of course, is a walk in the park, or on a beach. It does not have to be every day, but if you can manage two or three times a week, that would be ideal. 

For many of us, access to a park or beach is difficult to get to, but local small green areas seem to work just as well. New Jersey has an Open Space Database where you can search free green spaces to explore by county. 

If you don’t have transportation or have a disability that prevents you from traveling, find ways to sit outside during the day.  Take your computer to the backyard and work outside for a while.   Take a short walk around the block. Sometimes just opening the window and sitting in the fresh air can help.  

Are you interested in talking one-on-one with a professional?  Call Center For Family Services’ Access line at 877.922.2377 or email access@centerffs.org.  Our Access support team will work with you to set you up with a professional counselor who can help.