This week I would like to talk about reconnecting with nature through mountain biking and how it can be beneficial to our mental health and out stress levels.
As we all know, this modern world of ours is leaving us less and less time to get out into nature and disconnect from our increasingly connected lives. Most of our communication these day is based on mobile phones, tablets and computers, after all you’re probably reading this blog post from your phone and I’m writing it on my tablet! We rely on our phones so much these days we forget that there is a world out there waiting to be enjoyed.
So where do you start?
It can sometimes take a huge effort to get yourself up and out into the world. Especially if you have depression, it can make just the smallest effort a huge deal for you. Once you get over that initial hump though, the benefits of being outside and in nature are there for the taking.
I know it may not work for everyone, but as mountain bikers we are out and about quite often and right there in nature. As you head down the trail you may notice things that you’ve previously not had the time to, too busy getting to a meeting or too busy checking your phone to notice what’s next to you.
Just giving yourself the time to be in nature and be in the moment is a great mindfulness technique. Being in the moment can free you up to notice all the beautiful things around you as you cycle along, the blossoming flowers, the call of a bird you haven’t heard before and sometimes just the silence is enough for you to let out a long sigh and relax those tense shoulders.
In this respect, getting out in to nature is a good way of managing the stress that can come with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
The sheer fun that nature can bring can also have a huge positive impact in someone’s life. Tearing down a trail and nailing that berm, jump or rock garden that’s been giving you grief can be such an joyful feeling you often forget about everything else that’s happening and you get such a rush of achievement. I can’t outline enough that the sense of achievement really is key here, the feeling that you’re capable of something and that you nailed it can be so uplifting. Especially when depression is telling you that you aren’t good enough and anxiety is telling you all the ways that you can land on your face!
I genuinely believe that most people can benefit from being in nature in some way or another, just to get out and appreciate what’s out there, or to experience it whilst mountain biking and trying new things.
Nature has a place for everyone, it won’t judge you, it won’t make out like you shouldn’t be there but it may get you muddy and send you home with a huge grin.