On a mission to improve men’s mental health naturally
A shocking fact
In the UK, the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 isn’t heart disease or cancer.
No, it’s something far more preventable.
As someone who’s had suicidal thoughts after a period of deep depression, I know how hard it can be to turn the tide and keep going.
Modern living & the mind
With more jobs requiring mental labour as opposed to physical labour, we spend the majority of our time sat indoors, at a desk, doing a very specific job, whilst looking at a computer screen all day. In contrast, for millions of years our ancestors spent the entirety of their day outdoors, doing a variety of purposeful tasks. Whether it was building a shelter, hunting, gathering, or foraging, there was a task to be done that truly mean’t something. In short, a lack of purpose wasn’t high on their agenda.
Because many modern jobs require us to use our minds as opposed to our bodies, mental fatigue is becoming a bigger problem. With so many distractions around us, it requires significant mental effort to remain focused on the task at hand, leading to mental fatigue.
In our modern world, so much of our unhappiness comes from a place of “what we don’t have“. This isn’t surprising given the exposure into the lives of others we now have. This wasn’t a problem faced by our ancestors, whereas it’s something we’re exposed to every day. Whether it’s a radio advert, tv advert, billboard, or our social media feeds. It’s almost impossible to avoid.
Can you think of an environment that takes us away from all the problems above, and gives our minds an opportunity to recover?
The healing power of the wilderness
As you’ll see from my story, at the age of 24 I had every reason to be happy. Despite this, I quickly feel into deep depression. Feeling lost, lonely, exhausted, and seeing no end to the pain, I began to have suicidal thoughts.
One day, my mum asked me to join her in the Scottish hills for a long walk. Reluctantly, I agreed to join her and have never looked back since. It was on this long walk that I discovered the healing potential of the wilderness.
During this walk, I noticed my mind beginning to quieten down. When you’re depressed, anxious or stressed, the mind can be an incredibly noisy place. Therefore, this sense of calm and peace was a welcome relief. Additionally, this mental space allowed me think more clearly. With this clarity came an ability to focus, and help myself move forward.
I still feel stressed and anxious throughout the week when I’m working, but rather than let it get on top of me to the point where I feel out of control, I take my wilderness medicine at the weekend.
I make a point of going on a long hike, and when conditions allow, I spend the night in the hills. It doesn’t take long before the tension in my body has gone, my mind clears, and I feel much better. With renewed mental space and restored mental energy, I’m in a much better place to eradicate the very things that are causing me stress and anxiety.
Studies are now demonstrating the healing power of nature
Studies have shown nature provides the following benefits:
- improve physical health
- reduce inflammation
- recharge mental energy
- reduce depression and anxiety
- lower blood pressure
- improve ability to focus
- improve creativity
- boost immune system
Having experienced the mental health benefits of spending time in the wilderness, it’s now my mission to inspire others to spend more time in that environment.
Specifically, I’m talking about making time to go for long hikes, camp out in the wild, sit round a fire and watch the stars at night.
Ever better, get together with your mates and experience the outdoors together!
The resources you’ll find here will help you plan and prepare for your adventures.