Social Media Posts Reveal Connection Between Nature and Lower Levels of DepressionMarch 27, 2020
According to a recent study that analyzed the content of photos on social media using artificial intelligence, researchers found an association between nature and happiness globally. People who posted pictures of nature on social media were more likely to be smiling in pictures, use hashtags like #fun, and convey a positive message in their captions. While of course there are mediating factors, like going on vacation, these results suggest that nature could have an influence on reducing levels of depression.
Why Do We Associate Nature with Happiness?
The team’s analysis of the photographs uploaded on social media revealed that photographs tagged as #fun, #vacations and #honeymoons are more likely to contain elements of nature such as plants, water and natural landscape as compared to photographs tagged #daily or #routines. This finding, which is consistent across different countries, provides global evidence of biophilia hypothesis — human’s innate tendency to seek connection with nature — and implies a positive association between nature and fond memories in memorable events.
Can Spending More Time in Nature Improve Life Satisfaction?
The team also found that the amount of nature one is exposed to plays a role in their life satisfaction. Countries which have more elements of nature in photographs tagged as #fun such as Costa Rica and Finland, for instance, possess higher llfe national satisfaction scores according to scores reported in the World Happiness Report 2019. Collectively, the findings suggest the importance of nature in contributing to emotional happiness, relaxation and life satisfaction in communities worldwide.
Can Going Outside Be a Quick Fix for Depression?
Other studies have suggested that just 20 minutes of being outside a day, even just sitting down in the grass, can have health benefits, improving one’s energy, oxygen flow, and mood. This suggests that even low-impact activities outdoors can have the same effect as adventure activities.
It is no surprise than many people choose to step outside for a “quick breather” when feeling overwhelmed. While spending more time in nature doesn’t necessarily reduce one’s risk of experiencing depressive episodes, it can reduce the intensity of symptoms.
Why Choose a Nature-Based Treatment Program?
Wilderness therapy programs, like Trails Momentum, use nature as a form of depression treatment for young adults. As spending more time outside may feel like a huge adjustment for young adults who are socially isolated and/or sedentary, we offer a unique treatment model that combines time on wilderness expeditions with time at our base camp, where students sleep in cabins. Even at base camp, many of the day’s activities occur outside.
We believe that there is a difference between conducting therapy outdoors and using nature as a form of therapy. From hiking trails on our property to doing water sports in our campus lake to growing food in our gardens, we teach students that many of the coping skills they are looking for are already in their natural environment.
Trails Momentum Can Help
Trails Momentum is a wilderness therapy program for teens and young adults ages 18-25 to transition to independence and improved self-awareness. The program uses adventure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a strength-based approach. It is a small and nurturing community that focuses on goals of improved self-regulation and overall functioning for the young adults. Trails Momentum gives students the skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 877-296-8711 for more information about adventure therapy.