You may not realize it, but Pennsylvania residents are in one of the best locations in the country for improving your mental health or maintaining good mental health once you achieve it. PA is a stunning state with rolling hills, miles of streams, creeks, and rivers, hundreds of hiking and biking trails, and state parks that welcome outdoor enthusiasts and relaxation seekers. If you live in the Keystone State and struggle with depression and anxiety, you should take advantage of all the Commonwealth has to offer to improve your mental health.
1. Pennsylvania Welcomes You to Explore Nature
People who don’t live in Pennsylvania may think the state’s name is a bit odd, but it is perfect for the Commonwealth because it means “Penn’s Woods,” and the state abounds with wooded areas. If you only know Pennsylvania for Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, you don’t have a feel for the lush greenery that spreads across the majority of the state.
Residents, however, know that they are mere minutes from forests and nature areas. And, they can benefit from spending time outside in those areas, according to the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School. In fact, getting outside is a great way to clear your head and improve your sense of well-being. Studies also show that people who shift from urban areas to natural areas instantly relieve stress. Specifically, people who live near green spaces have less mental distress and a lower incidence of diseases.
Studies show a link between a deficiency in vitamin D and depression, and that people with low vitamin D levels are at a greater risk of depression. People who spend time in nature, however, increase their vitamin D and get a creativity boost. Those living with depression and anxiety benefit from the positive effects and mood-boosting power of vitamin D because spending time in natural light and walking in nature also boosts people’s moods and increases people’s concentration for increased alertness as the day progresses.
Not only is Pennsylvania brimming with nature, but it is home to countless retreats, parks, and nature preserves that welcome residents and visitors alike to explore nature. You may choose a bed and breakfast, cabins, campgrounds, or hotels in popular areas such as the Poconos, Gettysburg, or Hershey. People who are attracted to water prefer the views of Lake Erie, while others who prefer to hike choose places such as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and the Pine Creek Gorge. It is difficult to discount the restorative effects of nature, and when in PA, you can take your pick of natural areas.
2. Pennsylvania is an Ideal Destination for Anglers
If spending a day on the water fishing sounds like the perfect way for you to unwind, you are lucky to live in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State has lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, and creeks that are home to several species of fish including trout, largemouth bass, catfish, pike, panfish, walleye, and perch, among others. Portions of Pennsylvania’s waterways are stocked by the PA Fish & Boat Commission, and you can sit or stand along the shore, wade in the water, or try your luck fishing from a boat, canoe, or kayak.
3. Pennsylvania is Home to Water Trails Spanning Various Degrees of Difficulty
If you’d rather just spend time floating or paddling, canoeing and kayaking in Pennsylvania is a great way to do it. You can find just about any type of water trail in PA, from slower rivers or whitewater thrills. Some of the state parks are known as being top kayaking sites, and people choose the Clarion River for calm conditions. You’ll find launch sites along the Allegheny Water Trail and the Delaware Water Trail, or you can choose to navigate one of the state’s longest water trails, the Susquehanna Water Trail. Paddling in a canoe or kayak is a great way to reduce stress while exercising and spending time in nature.
Pennsylvania residents have ample opportunity to spend time in nature and take advantage of its restorative effects. From exploring in your backyard, to sitting in the sun, to visiting another area of the state, you can hike, bike, fish, canoe, or kayak your way to better mental health nearly anywhere in the Keystone State.
Image via Pixabay by tpsdvae
Author: Jennifer Scott (SpiritFinder.org)