I already know that hiking makes me happy.
I also know that hiking isn't for everyone--I'm not going to twist your arm to make you go! But, I will do my best to tell you why you should at least take the time to GET outside, GET into nature, and GET happy!
Seriously. Just being outside can make everyone feel better. If you're not into bugs or dirt, there are natural environments that aren't thriving with both that can still make you feel happy.
Don't believe it? Even Standford agrees that going for a walk in natural area can lower your feelings of anxiety or worrying, which can lead to depression (more on that below!)
The takeaway: nature isn't going to solve all your problems. But if you are not someone who typically spends time away from the more urban or suburban environment you might live in, chances are that if you take the time to spend 30 minutes or an hour a day in a more natural environment, walking around, you'll be less experience depression or unfounded anxiety.
So even if it's not hiking, give nature a try. Chances are, it'll make you happier!
Stanford isn't the only place studies about hiking and its relation to happiness have been done, though!
Here's just a quick list of other studies that help prove my point:
- spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent (source)
- walking helps creativity more than sitting (so hiking's even better, right?) (source)
- it seems that hiking as an additional therapy can help people with severe depression feel less hopeless, depressed and suicidal (source)
I'm sure there's plenty more, too :)