Spending time outside will increase happiness


Written by Grace Tramack

According to a study by the National Trust, children in 2018 go outside half as much as their parents did as kids. The rise of technology has had a major impact on how people spend their free time, and an increase in homework in schools around the country has de-emphasized the importance of spending time outside. Outdoor time, however, should be some- thing that all students make space in their schedules for. Reconnecting with our human roots is an important part of relieving stress, as is disconnecting for a while and learning new skills, and should be an integral part of students’ daily lives.

Going outside more often actually helps relieve stress, which is an especially great benefit for high school students. According to a study conducted at Brown University, students are spending three times the amount of time doing homework than what is recommended by the National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association. Homework alone is stressful, so finding time on weekdays to go for a walk or bike would be good for managing students’ mental health and stress levels.

Being outside also forces people to disconnect from technology and their social lives for a while. This allows stresses in one’s personal life to be momentarily forgotten as well. According to Rochester University psychology professor Richard Ryan, breathing in fresh air helps energize the human body and is actually proven to increase happiness. Even if people can’t fit in a backpacking, camping or fishing trip into their week, going for a walk in the park is better than nothing, and still entails many benefits.

Finally, going back to one’s human roots and actively reconnecting not only decreases stress and raises happiness levels, but also allows people to learn new skills. There are plenty of new tricks to learn in nature that most kids nowadays are not taught in school or by their parents, such as starting a fire with natural materials, making a shelter, animal tracking and picking edible plants in the woods. Finding a passion in the wilderness not only makes going out- side more enjoyable, but can also help people relax when they need to take a break.

Reconnecting with human roots is a crucial part of one’s life. It helps relieve stress, forces disconnection from technology for a while and allows people to learn new skills. Studies have shown over and over that there is nothing better for a person than fresh air and spending time with nature, and considering how stressed out the world seems to be in 2018, students should truly maximize that.