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Nature-Deficit Disorder

Nature-Deficit Disorder is the term used to describe certain mental, emotional and behavioral issues we can develop from not having enough access to nature. When we’re deprived of our connection to the natural world around us, we can experience heightened anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. We can develop behavioral problems that are especially apparent in young people, such as an inability to focus, difficulty concentrating, issues with our memory, and trouble following instructions. As children, we naturally want to be outdoors, but over time we lose this inclination because we’re conditioned by the societal standards of school and work to always be indoors. Not only do we not get enough fresh air, along with the health benefits of the sun, water, and other elements, we’re being exposed to stale, circulating air, artificial lighting, and harsh chemicals.

Physical Side-Effects & Benefits

As we spend increasingly less time surrounded by nature, we can develop health problems like Seasonal Affective Disorder, where we’re not producing sufficient vitamin D because we aren’t getting enough exposure to the sun. This disorder can mirror depression, and many of us experience recurring depressions that coincide with the cold winter months. We might experience exacerbated stress levels and mood swings. We might feel at odds with ourselves, restless and uneasy. We might feel sad, longing for the summer days of feeling the sun on our face and being in the water. We might feel stifled by being indoors, which adds to our stress and anxiety.

When we don’t get enough nature, not only are we not producing enough vitamin D, we’re also not able to experience the calming effects of water. Spending time at the beach is not only fun, the negative ions from the water naturally give us a lift in our mood and decrease stress, making us feel happier, calmer, more balanced and at peace. In addition, being in nature gives us an easy, accessible way to get more physical activity into our day, and the mental and emotional health benefits of exercise are just as great as the physical health benefits. When we’re not spending enough time in nature, many of us are also not getting enough exercise, which can very easily worsen our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

We are naturally connected to the natural world around us, but as the years go by, we tend to lose that connection. It becomes harder to carve out time to be outdoors. We lose appreciation for the many parks and other natural resources available to us. We adhere to the culture of working and studying indoors, and as such, we often experience a decline in our overall health. The lack of nature and the stress it can cause us can easily contribute to our addictive patterns as well, leaving us with one more thing to try and escape using our drugs of choice. The lesson in all of this? Get outdoors!

Are you ready to take the first step on your journey to recovery? Call The Guest House today! 855-483-7800.