Teens in Nature: How Nature Improves Adolescent Mental Health

Nature can heal and rejuvenate, providing a sense of peace and tranquility in our often hectic lives. This is especially true for adolescents who face unique challenges during their teenage years. Explore how nature can positively impact teens’ mental health, providing them with much-needed solace and support during this crucial stage of development. 

Our teen treatment programs can help you or a loved one overcome behavioral health issues in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Why Are Teens Spending Less Time Indoors?

According to a survey conducted by the Redondo Beach Youth Development Center, 67% of teens reported spending less time indoors compared to five years ago. This trend is also reflected in a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which found that only 20% of teens in Redondo Beach reported spending more than two hours per day indoors during weekdays.

One possible reason for this shift is the increasing availability and accessibility of outdoor activities in Redondo Beach. With its mild climate and beautiful beaches, many teens are opting for activities such as surfing, beach volleyball, and skateboarding over indoor activities like video games or watching TV.

The prevalence of social media and mobile technology has also played a role in reducing indoor time for teens. Many teens use their smartphones to stay connected with friends and share photos and experiences, which often involves being outdoors.

If your teen is struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, our residential treatment center for teens can help. 

What Activities In Nature Can Teens Participate In To Improve Mental Health?

Disconnection From Screen Time

Spending time in nature allows teens to disconnect from their digital devices and the constant pressure of social media. This can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression that are often associated with excessive screen time.

Nature provides a peaceful and calming environment for teens to relax and recharge. The sights, sounds, and smells of nature have a therapeutic effect on the brain, promoting relaxation and reducing levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).

Being in nature encourages physical activity which is essential for maintaining good mental health. Engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, or swimming can release endorphins (feel-good hormones) and improve overall mood.

Teens in nature can disconnect from their busy schedules and daily pressures. It gives them a chance to slow down and be present in the moment. This mindfulness practice can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve overall well-being.

Spending time in nature can also promote social connectedness. Teens who participate in outdoor activities together are more likely to develop strong friendships based on shared experiences. This sense of belonging can improve self-esteem and reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Our mental health resources for teens and parents can help you learn more about therapeutic nature practices. Don’t wait to seek professional help!

What Are Six Ways Parents Can Encourage Teens To Get Outdoors?

  1. Plan Family Outings: Parents can plan family outings to outdoor locations such as parks, beaches, or hiking trails. This will not only encourage the teen to get outdoors but also provide an opportunity for quality family time.
  2. Set a Good Example: Parents should lead by example and spend time outdoors with their teens in nature. It could be as simple as going for a walk or bike ride together or engaging in outdoor activities like camping or fishing.
  3. Limit Screen Time: Parents can set limits on screen time and encourage their teens to spend more time outdoors instead. This could be done by setting a designated “no electronics” time each day or having a weekly technology-free day.
  1. Involve Friends: Encourage your teen to invite friends along on outdoor adventures. Having a peer group can make outdoor activities more fun for teenagers.
  2. Try Something New: Instead of sticking to the same old activities, parents can suggest trying something new and unique outdoors such as rock climbing, kayaking, or even geocaching.
  3. Guided Adventures: Consider sending your teen and their friend on a guided wilderness adventure. This could be a great way for them to explore nature in a safe and educational environment.
  4. Get Creative: Make spending time outdoors a creative experience by involving your teen in activities like nature photography, painting landscapes, or creating nature-inspired crafts. 

  5. Encourage Mentoring: Support your teen in becoming a mentor for nature by volunteering at local parks or conservation organizations and teaching younger children about the importance of preserving the environment. Our parental support program can help parents encourage their teens to get outdoors and reap the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of spending time in nature.

Seek Mental Health Treatment for Teens at Blume Behavioral Health

If you or your teen is struggling with mental health issues, do not hesitate to seek help at Blume Behavioral Health. Our dedicated team is committed to providing compassionate care and supporting teens toward healing and growth. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services. We can help you take the first step toward healing.