Psychological Benefits of Walking in Nature

Few things are better for your mind, body and spirit than a good, long walk in the woods. Whether by yourself, with friends, or with your dog — getting out in nature can be the best thing you can do for yourself. Here are some of the psychological benefits of taking regular walks in the company of the natural world – “Ecopsychology”, as it is known.

Lowers Stress

There’s not much better to bring your stress levels down by simply allowing yourself to just ‘be’ in a certain space. This is even easier when you’re walking by yourself in the woods or in some other natural location due to the lack of distractions that usually surround our everyday lives. Walking in nature is one of the best ways to lower your stress levels – nothing can stress you out when there’s nothing to stress about!

Senior couple walking in the woods


Walking in nature will allow you the time and space to think and re-discover your connections – not only to yourself but to the earth around you. That may sound like it comes straight from the 1970’s hippie movement, but it’s true. Think about how little time you have during the course of the day to actually stop and think and reflect on your life and the decisions you’ve made and the effects they have had on you. The release of endorphins and dopamine will strike happy chords in your brain, while the calming sensation that follows such releases will give you the headspace to really think things through in your mind.

Increased Attention Span 

In nature, there is nothing but nature to pay attention to! Frequent walks in nature will make you a more attentive person. You’ll learn to actually see things, rather than just notice them casually. You’ll learn that instead of just saying, “Oh, that’s a pretty flower”, you’ll take your time to study the flower. Maybe you’ll take a picture of it to study it later instead, you’ll find yourself paying more attention out-of-the-woods, too, since what happens in your brain knows no bounds.

Helpful for Introverts

People who like to spend time alone are sometimes scoffed at. They’re “anti-social”, some say. Well, for those people, walking in nature might be one of the best things for them. Being more comfortable in solitude isn’t a selfish act. The calmness one may feel from having only oneself for company, save for the forest, birds and the bees, can have a significant impact on the quality of one’s life and be fantastic for those who struggle with depression and anxiety. The freedom one may feel from being in nature is an escape from the prison one may feel they’re in, in their minds.

Living, working, exercising in nature is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves. I challenge you to find your nearest park, or local woodland trail, and go there for a few hours by yourself, bring the dog or a significant other and spend time in silence and solitude, reflect, center-down and just be present. Your mental health will thank you for it.