May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and on the surface, it might seem strange for a parks foundation to cover this topic. But stay with us, because the two have more in common than you might think.

This past weekend was beautiful! If you went outside and felt the fresh air on your skin and the sun on your face, then you know what we mean. But something you perhaps didn’t notice was the way you felt after your time outdoors. Chances are, just the act of stepping away from your computer and into the open air instantly lifted your spirits.

Think about it for a moment. Did you feel refreshed, reenergized, relaxed? If you did, we aren’t surprised. That’s because there’s scientific evidence that shows being outside is good for our mental health and overall wellbeing.

Spending time in nature can improve mental health issues like depression. There is even a treatment called ecotherapy (or nature therapy), which is the practice of being in nature used to boost growth and healing. Ecotherapy has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression.

So, if you’re feeling down, try breaking away from the computer screen and getting outside. Here are a few of the other health benefits you might experience as a result:

–         improved mood

–         reduced stress

–         feeling more relaxed

–         better physical health from movement

–         increased self-esteem

–         more focused

Not sure if it’s true? Try it. You can visit any of the 33 FREE parks and trails in Hendricks County. Discover your next Hendricks County adventure and enjoy the mental health benefits as a bonus.