As the old saying goes, there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. This often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but there is another unavoidable part of life that perhaps our most famous forefather forgot to mention – Stress.
“Chronic, negative stress can really impair your physical and mental well-being,” writes Jillian Babcock, content writer for Dr. Axe. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America’s (ADAA) 2006 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, 72 percent of people with daily stress admit that it interferes with their lives at least moderately. “That’s why it’s so important to find the proper stress relievers to maintain a strong quality of life.”
How to Better Manage Stress
Stress is a constant in our lives, but a few simple steps can help us all better cope with everyday stress!
Americans spend much of their time sealed off from nature, whether at their desk, in their house, or behind the wheel, according to Men’s Health. “People often tend to forget about the importance of spending time outside and underestimate the health benefits,” says Urmet Seepter, goodrelaxation.com.
There’s a reason they call it the great outdoors. Nature has a way of bringing you back down to earth and making everything feel okay. In fact, just being in nature “reduces cognitive fatigue and stress and can be helpful with depression and anxiety,” says Irina Wen, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and clinical director of the Steven A. Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone Medical Center.
- When outside, the body experiences an increase in serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our mood.
- In a study of post-operative patients, researchers found that those with views of the outdoors required less pain medication and spent fewer days in the hospital than those with no view.
- Research by Dr. David Lewis found that the scent of grass has a significant calming effect.
“Nature is fuel for the soul, “ says Richard Ryan, researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.”
“One of the best stress relievers available to us is exercise, a natural remedy for anxiety because it releases powerful endorphin chemicals in the brain, which act like the body’s built-in painkillers and mood-lifters,” writes Babcock.Researchers Douglas Kleiber, Susan Hutchinson, and Richard Williams, meanwhile, found that exercise plays four important factors in overcoming stressful life events:
- Exercise can help distract participants from negative life events.
- Exercise can provide temporary relief by generating optimism.
- Exercise can provide a sense of control and normalcy.
- Exercise can bring motivation of attaining new goals and looking forward to the future.
“Research suggests the negative effects of stress on the body seem to be exaggerated in people who are inactive,” writes Babcock, “a phenomenon called ‘stress-induced/exercise deficient’ phenotype.”
So, get up, get active, and ease your mind!
Outdoor Exercise for the Win!
If both being outdoors and exercise helps alleviate stress, then outdoor exercise is the next logical step.
While there are numerous outdoor exercises to choose from – biking, kayaking, climbing, running, etc. – one high-flying form of outdoor exercise stood out to us as the perfect way to ease stress, while also having a blast – the ropes course. “It is a positive way to keep your mind engaged while relieving stress and tension building up,” says Shannon Gordon, University of South Florida track sprinter and health science major. In fact, in 2010 researcher Jenny Phan set out to put this notion to the test and document the psychological benefits of challenge courses, another name for ropes courses, in 120 subjects. The results revealed that challenge courses “impacted the participants at an emotional and social level,” and most participants saw a noticeable increase in their “emotional and social skills.” Of the 120 participants:
- 79 saw an increase in their ability to overcome fear
- 76 noted a positive impact on self-esteem
- 104 saw a boost in trust (specifically with other participants)
- 97 stated they felt more confident
- 75 remarked how the activity helped ease stress
- 94 noted a positive outlook on life
Traversing the ropes course can be an almost spiritual experience, helping participants escape reality and de-stress. “Exercising outdoors decreases feelings of tension, anger, and depression,” writes Abigail Wise, RealSimple.com.
Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course with three fun-filled levels, taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! We employ a continuous belay system, and all aerial adventures are led by our uniquely trained guides who are all about making sure you stay safe while having a great time.
Reservations are suggested for all adventures to make sure you won’t have to wait too long.
If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
- Babcock, Jillian. “Always Stressed? 8 Natural Stress Relievers To Try.” Dr. Axe, 4 Nov. 2017, draxe.com/stress-relievers/.
- Gordon, Shannon. “Fit 5: Benefits of the ropes course.” The Oracle, www.usforacle.com/news/view.php/687699/Fit-5-Benefits-of-the-ropes-course.
- Heiser, Christina. “The Science behind Why Nature Makes You Happier and Healthier.” NBCNews.com, NBC Universal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/how-nature-can-solve-life-s-most-challenging-problems-ncna749361.
- Kleiber, Douglas A., Susan L. Hutchinson, and Richard Williams. “Leisure as a Resource in Transcending Negative Life Events: Self-Protection, Self-Restoration, and Personal Transformation.” Leisure Sciences 24.2 (2002): 219-35. Web.
- Phan, Jenny. The Impact of Therapeutic Recreation Through Ropes Courses and Teambuilding Activities . California Polytechnic State University.
- Recapture Your Wild Side. Men’s Health, 9 Apr. 2018, www.menshealth.com/health/a19544507/go-outside/.
- “Reduce Stress in the Great Outdoors.” Chi Blog, www.athleta.net/2011/02/23/reduce-stress-in-the-great-outdoors/.
- Ryan, Richard M., et al. “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 30, no. 2, 2010, pp. 159–168., doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2009.10.009
- Seepter, Urmet. “6 Important Health Benefits Of Fresh Air I Good Relaxation.” Good Relaxation, 21 Nov. 2014, goodrelaxation.com/2012/01/health-benefits-of-fresh-air/.