The benefits of nature in dealing with stress

Abby Smith, Graphic Design Editor

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The various stresses of school, work and life in general can weigh heavily on high school students. I have experienced these hardships myself and can guarantee that most of my fellow students have felt some of them at one point or another too. Coping with the different pressures of life can prove to be difficult, but I have recently discovered what works for me to alleviate these stresses. In sharing what I have found, I hope to inspire students dealing with the same issues to find healthy coping mechanisms to help their mental health.

When pressure seems to be trapping me, I have found that a stroll through nature helps me immensely. Taking the time to breathe and enjoy the outdoors is extremely important, and we are very fortunate to have two beautiful parks near De Soto High School: Kill Creek Park and Shawnee Mission Park. Taking a friend with me is also helpful if I feel the need to talk about my stresses and work through them that way. If I go by myself, I listen to the sounds of nature to help ease my mind (while staying alert of my surroundings to keep myself safe).

In other cases of hardships, nature walks don’t prove to be as effective. In these case, I turn to running. Running is great to turn to if feeling sad or bored, two emotions which can sometimes be related. You don’t have to be a good runner to make use of this technique. Simply jogging for just one mile can help get your mind in the right place to deal with your emotions. While running, you may even be able to forget those feelings as you concentrate on pushing yourself further physically.

With autumn in full swing, it is important to take advantage of these techniques while the weather is still decent. Before long, the cold will stop these activities from being as enjoyable as they are now. In addition, autumn and winter can bring about seasonal depression in some people, and taking a proactive approach to combat this is important to lessen the bleakness of winter.

As always, if smaller methods of coping like these aren’t helping, talking to a parent, counselor or therapist is the best option. In the meantime, using healthy ways to cope with stress and hardships is always beneficial.

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