The Link Between Happiness and The Outdoors

How time spent in the great outdoors can help improve your physical, mental and emotional health.

By: Rachel Louise Moore

The team at Hastings Overland understands that it is extraordinarily easy to get caught up in your hectic career, or even a Netflix series or two (*cough Narcos cough*). As a result, it can become much more difficult to find the energy and motivation needed in order to explore the forests, mountains and beaches that have been so conveniently placed right in our backyards.

Over the past few years, many studies have concluded that spending time outdoors holds the ability to lower blood pressure, improve mental health, reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes, reduce stress and even increase life expectancy. Recent studies published by The New York Times, have quantified exactly how much time is needed, and concluded that people should be spending at least two hours a week outdoors. Even more specifically, one should be spending the suggested outdoor time walking aimlessly through the park or forest, not posted up with a beer on a restaurant patio. Although I am sure patio drinking has some wonderful undiscovered health benefits as well!

Not only does spending time adventuring through the outdoors minimize stress and anxiety, but it also is proven to promote creativity and problem-solving, as it stimulates areas of the brain that are often neglected through excessive screen use. Various other studies have suggested that those who spend more time admiring nature’s beauty are actually nicer, more generous and empathetic (Could this be why Canadians apologize so often?)

Since we are seasoned weekend warriors at Hastings Overland, we lean on hiking, mountain biking, camping, surfing, boating and fishing for that serotonin boost. Although there is no shortage of good times to be had in the wilderness, the Wi-Fi-signals are often missing in action. This allows you to greater connect with the outdoors and disconnect from those essay-length text conversations, the mindless Instagram scrolling and the left swiping on dating apps. There are few things greater than grabbing a couple of your best buds, packing along some snacks and setting off to explore some lush uncharted territory for a day… or five.

At Hastings Overland, we understand the importance of spending time in nature’s playground. This is why we are daring you to name one thing that brings you more happiness than lying back in a hammock, coffee in hand, while your camping partners prepare sizzling bacon and eggs for breakfast, with some old time rock & roll playing in the background. Okay, maybe that is just my fantasy, but you get the idea!

As a team of passionate outdoor enthusiasts, we can certainly help you go completely off the grid. Whether it be taking in the smell of the salty sea spray along the west coast of Vancouver Island, or feeling the brisk glacier water meet your skin as you take a dip in Lake Louise, we can help you boost that serotonin and reconnect with nature.

Photo by Marvin Kuhr

Photo by Marvin Kuhr

Maxwell Webster