Have lots of stress in your day-to-day life? Struggling with depression and other mental health issues? Unemployed? Breaking up with your girlfriend? There’s a simple answer to all these things: go on a hike with a group of people. It’ll improve your mood.
A study published in Ecopsychology found that group nature walks can lower stress, decrease depression, and improve mental well-being. Researchers arrived at these conclusions by examining 1,991 participants in the UK’s Walking for Health program, which has over 70,000 regular participants over the year and does around 3,000 walks per week.
According to the authors, “Walking is an inexpensive, low risk, and accessible form of exercise and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful, under-utilized stress buster. Our findings suggest that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group may not only improve someone’s daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.”
We’d only add that for truly fantastic mental-heath benefits, you should end your nature walk in a pub.