The mental health benefits of going for a 1 hour walk can last for at least 7 hours, according to a pioneering new study.

Going for a walk really helps me cope with my own mental health.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2542519618300512

I’ve been getting out and spending time in nature to help with my stress and anxiety since  my mid teens. It started when my parents split up whilst I was in the middle of my GCSE’s at school. I then realised that spending time sitting in the middle of a forest surrounded by trees helped me calm down and re-charge my inner batteries. I would spend hours sitting in the local park or Black Park next to Pinewood Studios, it helped me to relax and forget about my worries for a few hours.

Man sitting on a log thinking

Now I love taking the time to be mindful of all the beautiful green spaces around me. Even when living in London you can always find a small area of green. I’ve spent many mornings watching the birds and other wild life in my back garden, even to this day it still has a calming effect. I love to sit and daydream whilst drinking a cup of tea on the decking watching the paraquets feed on the peanuts hanging from the bird feeders dotted around my garden.

It is hard to explain the power of nature in relieving both my physical and mental stress … There is nothing more relaxing then sitting with a cup of tea looking at the birds or even foxes through the kitchen window and hearing the trees whistle in the wind. There is something about the quiet calm of nature that is contagious, leaving a quiet calm in my mind.

mug-of-tea

As a guy, a grown up 38yr old, it’s tough!! We all know life can be hard at times. Your head takes you to some weird dark places, but the majority of us can get out of those dark times by being busy and active with family, friends, work or even hobbies. But there are times when the dark places don’t give in…. And as men it’s not a “manly” thing to express your feelings and cry in front of others…. But do you know what?! It’s actually fine to do that…

highlight]Yes men cry.Yes men do get upset.Yes us men do struggle.

Why can’t we actually express this externally instead of keeping it all in and fueling the internal negative energy?

And then when us men do speak out, our friends and peers comment back with “Oh Man up, and get on with it”.

Man up

It’s now 2019,men should be able to freely express their emotions and feelings and not in anyway feel less “manly“.

Boys, if you’re struggling, speak up, don’t bottle it up inside. Speak, text, call someone and have a rant and let it all out.

Personally I find it hard to speak out with my true internal emotions, even to my wife… But I truly know if I was struggling she would listen to me.

So guys speak up and speak to someone.

Another way I destress when I’m struggling with life/family/work issues is to go for a walk and surrond myself with trees. There’s something so magical sitting under the oak tree and just watching the world go by.

Men sitting around a campfire

If you’re not a fan of just sitting there and unwinding, I’ve come up with some activities you can do outdoors to enjoy mother nature and help deal with mental health.

Take a walk in a green space, such as a local park.

Get creative. Draw or paint animals or nature scenes, or let them inspire a poem or song lyrics. If you enjoy writing in a journal, try doing this outside.

Eat meals outdoors. Have a picnic in a local park, or simply sit in your back garden or balcony.

Watch the stars. Use a stargazing website, app or book to help you recognise different stars, or simply enjoy looking at the night sky. Give your eyes time to adjust, as it can take about 20 minutes before you can fully see stars in the dark.

Try exercising outside.
Run or jog through a local park, or do yoga outdoors. It’s been said that running outside is more effective for your mental health than running on a treadmill in the gym.

Man running on dirt track

Join a local walking or rambling group.

Follow a woodland trail.

Go beachcombing. Visit the seaside and search the shoreline for interesting things.

Try geocaching. Geocaching involves looking for items in hidden outdoor locations, using a device such as a mobile phone or tablet.

Geo caching box

Be mindful in nature. Find things to see, hear, taste, smell and touch. Like grass under your feet or the feeling of wind and sunlight.