Salt Caves: A History of Halotherapy and Its Restorative Health Benefits

If you pay attention to health and wellness trends, you may have been hearing more and more about salt caves in recent years. However, salt caves aren’t just a passing fad—salt therapy has been recognized for centuries for its healing and restorative power. 

The History of Salt Caves

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, recommended salt inhalation for optimal health—perhaps because salt is a natural antiseptic and antifungal agent. It can kill some types of bacteria and fungi, which is why it has been used to preserve food for thousands of years.

Salt caves have a particularly long history in Eastern Europe. Medieval monks there noticed that the patients they treated tended to heal faster when they recuperated in natural salt caverns.

In the 1800s, Polish doctor Dr. Felix Bochkowsky published a book on the healing power of salt after observing that salt miners had better health than coal miners and even the general population, though they toiled underground doing backbreaking labor.

During the mid-20th century, Soviet scientists conducted studies of salt therapy (by then called halotherapy) for respiratory diseases, and by the 1960s, salt chambers were being constructed at state-run hospitals and sanitoriums. Later, hotels and spas in Eastern Europe embraced halotherapy as a restorative treatment. Today, salt caves are being rediscovered by a new generation of people interested in wellness and relaxation.

What Is a Salt Cave?  

Salt caves can provide a range of health benefits, and luckily, you don’t need to travel far to reap them. Manmade salt caves offer the same benefits as natural ones—and perhaps more, since the environment can be controlled and only purified salt can be used. Constructed salt caves are becoming regular features at spas and wellness resorts.

A manmade salt cave reproduces the environment of a naturally occurring salt mine. The room is lined with crystal salt rocks and equipped with comfortable reclining chairs or similar furniture to relax in, with a rock lamp giving off a dim, peaceful glow. The floor may be covered in salt. Outside the cave, there is a machine that grinds salt into microparticles that disperse through the air in the cave, which is kept at a comfortable 70 degrees or so, at low humidity levels.

salt mine meditation

Himalayan salt is often used because it is believed to release negative electrons (ions) into the air; these ions are important in the body for fluid exchanges. Other research, not specific to Himalayan salt or salt caves, has found that negative ions in general can help regulate sleep patterns, reduce depression, and boost immune system function.

The following are just a few of the reasons you might consider a therapeutic salt cave treatment. Major health benefits include: 

Relief from Mild Illnesses

While a salt cave is not a replacement for medical treatment, it can relieve some symptoms of illness. For instance, salt caves can offer temporary relief from unpleasant symptoms and discomfort associated with a range of mild respiratory conditions, including allergies, colds, asthma, and more.

It is the pulverized, vaporized salt in the air that provides relief from these symptoms—when pharmaceutical grade salt is inhaled, it interacts with the epithelial cells that line the nasal and sinus passageways. This can have a therapeutic effect on mucus membranes, reducing swelling and inflammation.

Skin Improvement

Dry salt therapy doesn’t merely offer relief from respiratory symptoms. It can also help treat conditions affecting the skin. Specifically, it can help people struggling with such conditions as rosacea, psoriasis, acne, and eczema, to name a few.

Relaxation

Stress isn’t merely unpleasant. Prolonged stress can lead to insomnia, depression, poor performance at work, and cardiovascular problems. Because heart disease is among the leading killers of adults in the developed world, you need to make sure you’re taking steps to reduce stress in your life.

This is another reason you may want to try a salt cave treatment. Sitting in a salt cave and breathing deeply is a relaxing, meditative experience. People often report feeling refreshed and rejuvenated afterwards.

How It Works

Studies have indicated that salt caves can offer many of these benefits in clearly measurable ways. For example, one recent study of children with asthma found that those who underwent salt cave therapy twice a week for seven weeks experienced greater improvement in their symptoms than children who did not. In addition, another study revealed that salt cave therapy can trigger anti-inflammatory effects in people struggling with chronic bronchial conditions. As salt caves become more widespread, future studies may confirm their usefulness to an even greater degree.

If you do try salt therapy, it’s important to keep in mind that salt can dry out the body. That’s why many experts recommend drinking plenty of fluids after spending time in a salt cave.

The best way to learn about the benefits of salt caves is to try them yourself—and because this treatment is becoming increasingly popular, odds are good you can find a salt cave relatively close to home. Give it a try—you’ll be happy you did!

Things to Do Near Minnewaska Lodge: What You Need to Know

Minnewaska Lodge is a boutique resort located just 1.5 hours north of New York City. However, despite its proximity to one of the most bustling metropolises in the world, it’s actually a secluded spot in a gorgeous natural setting. City-dwellers can easily get back in touch with nature and escape their busy urban setting for a little while.

Additionally, there is plenty to do in the surrounding areas. The following are just some of the experiences and activities you might enjoy during a stay at Minnewaska Lodge.

Hiking and Rock Climbing

As the name implies, Minnewaska Lodge is located in the same area as the Minnewaska Preserve, which offers some of the most remarkable hiking trails in New York. Trails range in difficulty from easy to expert, offering something for hikers of all experience levels.

Those who want to have a more thrilling experience might consider tackling some of the nearby rock-climbing routes. The nearby Shawangunk Ridge is a popular destination for some of the country’s most experienced rock climbers. Luckily, if you don’t have much experience in this sport but you’ve always wanted to give it a try, various local businesses offer guided lessons.

Shopping and Dining

Minnewaska Lodge is just a few minutes away from the town of New Paltz. As home to the State University of New York at New Paltz, the town caters to the student population (as well as the numerous tourists who visit the region throughout the year) with a range of shopping and dining options. 

Dining

Also, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which has trained many well-known chefs, is just across the river in Poughkeepsie. You may want to head over there for a meal if you have the time. Even if you can’t set aside a few hours to make the trip to Poughkeepsie, you’ll be happy to discover that the CIA’s influence is clearly embodied in the quality of restaurants you’ll find near Minnewaska Lodge. Quite simply, many people who train at the CIA stay in the area, using what they’ve learned to serve the region.

Noteworthy Landmarks

Minnewaska Lodge offers an ideal getaway because it’s small and secluded enough to contrast distinctly with the hustle and bustle of NYC. That said, while you’re in the area, you may consider visiting the nearby Mohonk Mountain House as well.

This popular hotel may not appeal to someone who is trying to get away from busy city living. However, it’s still worth visiting due to its role in pop culture. Scenes from the recent Amazon TV series Upload were filmed there, for one. 

Additionally, Mohonk attracts many celebrities, including Stephen King. He and his family have been visiting the spot regularly for decades. Although the famous horror author has never confirmed or denied the tale, local legend has it that Mohonk Mountain House was one of the inspirations for the haunted Overlook Hotel in King’s novel The Shining.

It’s also worth noting that the grounds of the Mohonk Mountain House property are home to a tower that overlooks the ridge, offering an iconic visual to those approaching the region. According to rumor, that image inspired Bob Dylan to pen his classic tune “All Along the Watchtower.” The fact that he has spent much of his life living and traveling in the region supports this claim. 

Access to Other Famous New York Spots

You may also want to visit Minnewaska Lodge if you’re trying to visit several of the famous landmarks and regions in New York State. This is due to the lodge’s perfectly central location relative to various destinations.

For instance, not too far south from Minnewaska Lodge, you’ll find the United States Military Academy at West Point. During various times of the year, you can tour the historic grounds or dine at one of the campus’ acclaimed restaurants.

Travel north of Minnewaska Lodge, and it won’t take you long to reach the Catskills, where you can hike, sample the local cuisine, or take in breathtaking views at spots like Kaaterskill Falls. On your way up, you could also stop by Kingston, the first capital of New York, or venture past Kingston and visit Albany, the current capital. The point is, if you’re trying to see as much of New York as you can but you need a central location to rest your head after a day of touring the state, Minnewaska Lodge is ideal.

Incredibly-Easy Ways You Can Reconnect with Nature

Connecting with nature is one of the best steps that you can take to improve your overall well-being. Research consistently shows that being out in nature yields various physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. It’s worthwhile to consider taking a wellness vacation in a setting that provides you with easy access to nature, and you’ll get the most out of it if you spend an extended period of time in an area where nature is abundant.

Although taking a nature-oriented wellness vacation is a good idea, you might not have the freedom to do so. If this is the case, then try the tips in this blog post in the meantime. They can help you reconnect with nature right now.

Bring nature to you.

You likely already know that relaxing in natural settings can allow you to get in touch with nature. Even spending your break in a local park is enough to you get started. However, it’s also worth keeping in mind that you can enjoy nature when you have no option but to be indoors. For instance, decorating your home or office with a few plants can be a first step. Research indicates that office greenery can have a positive impact on productivity. Adding a few plants to your workspace might help you get more done.

nature shells

You could also try starting a collection of seashells, pinecones, or other natural items and display them at your desk or your favorite rooms at home. If you choose something normally found in your local park, woods, beach, or other environments, then this might also prompt you to visit those areas when you have the chance to go outdoors. 

Adopt the right hobbies.

Numerous hobbies can give you an opportunity to not only get in touch with nature, but to also maintain a connection. Gardening is one option. Depending on the plants within your garden, this activity can also serve a practical purpose: yielding food that you can use in your meals. Photography is another pastime to consider. Natural settings often provide ideal subjects for photos. If photography doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you could take up painting or drawing instead, which can give you a reason to spend more time in nature. Hiking and off-trail biking or running are also hobbies that require venturing into the outdoors. They’ll help you stay healthy as well.

Attract wildlife to your backyard.

Among the benefits of reconnecting with nature is reminding you that the world is filled with extraordinary living creatures. You might be able to draw some of the local wildlife to you when you don’t have the opportunity to seek them out in their natural habitats. For example, you could plant a bird-feeder in your backyard. This will attract various remarkable guests.

Take other tasks to the park.

Finding time to go to the park might be easier than you think when you consider that a visit there can involve engaging in more than one task. For instance, depending on the nature of your job, you might have the freedom to work in a park. Or perhaps you like to read or browse the Internet on a daily basis. This is also something that you can do there. You can listen to the natural sounds around you while you read or take a few moments to appreciate your surroundings between book chapters or pieces of content.

Like everyone else, you also need to eat every day. This is another basic activity that you can do in a park. If you regularly eat with family members or friends, then you can turn meals into picnics. Moreover, some people feel comfortable exercising in the park. You can run, perform yoga, or lift weights if you bring them yourself. If you’re nervous about the idea of working out in front of others, then try looking for a less-occupied area or see if you can go to the park at times of the day or week when there are fewer people there.

Pay Attention to your surroundings.

Even if you live in a crowded city, pieces of nature are all around you. You simply need to remember to look for and pay attention to them. For example, try not to just walk by every tree that you see. Take time to admire a few. Don’t tune out the sound of birds chirping; listen to them mindfully instead. When you feel a breeze on your face, enjoy the sensation.

Alternatives are helpful, but not always full substitutes.

None of these tips are necessarily complete substitutes for getting in touch with nature through an extended trip. That’s still a worthwhile opportunity. However, the aforementioned ideas can help when taking a nature-oriented wellness vacation isn’t an option.

What to Consider When Planning Your Wellness Vacation

A wellness vacation offers many benefits for both your mental and physical health. That said, like any vacation, the whole trip will be more relaxing and worry-free if you plan properly beforehand.

The following are some key factors you should keep in mind when planning your wellness vacation.

Location

As the name implies, a wellness vacation should be a trip that helps you relax and improve your health by getting away from life’s stresses. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right location.

hiking nature

It’s a good idea to consider a location that allows you to spend time in nature. Research consistently shows that spending time in the woods or another natural environment can significantly boost a person’s overall well-being by reducing blood pressure, decreasing production of the stress hormone cortisol, improving sleep, and even improving short-term memory. Nature is the ultimate stress reliever, so consider planning your vacation somewhere you can spend lots of time outside.

More specifically, you may want to choose a location where you can go forest bathing. This meditative Japanese practice is now popular in the West; it refers to the act of “bathing” in nature by walking through a forest and taking time to fully absorb your surroundings with all your senses. Luckily, the US has no shortage of majestic, forested wilderness areas and parks. From the Adirondacks and Catskills in New York, the Ozarks in the southern Midwest, and the Rockies and Sierra Nevada in the West, there is a forest not far away, waiting to offer healing and rejuvenation.

Lodging

Proximity to nature is an important quality in any spot you choose for a wellness vacation. That said, unless you’re comfortable camping in the woods for days on end, you’ll likely want to spend your nights at a hotel or resort.

Don’t choose your accommodations randomly. Look for an option that complements its rejuvenating setting—perhaps with wonderful views and easy access to a natural area. The last thing you want to do is have to commute from your hotel while on your vacation.

Look for hotels and resorts that offer other wellness-focused amenities, too. Saunas, cold plunge pools, massage therapy, spa treatments, and yoga—most quality resorts will offer these and/or similar amenities to help you relax.

Activities

What do you want to do all day during your vacation? Sleep in, then sleep some more? Forest bathe? Attend a wine tasting seminar, then get a massage? All of these are possible. You’re the expert on what you find the most relaxing, so be sure to look for a destination that allows you to spend time doing what you want.

It’s also a good idea to consider who your travel companions will be. You may jump at the chance to vacation alone—after all, a solo trip is a chance to spend your time the way you want, without having to compromise, and to engage in quiet reflection and meditation. Other people find it relaxing to vacation with their significant other or friends. Making new memories and reconnecting with each other, without having to worry about work, chores, kids, and other stresses, can be deeply relaxing.

Intentions

“Boosting wellness” is a fairly vague goal. To take full advantage of a wellness vacation, try defining a more specific intention.

Some people take wellness vacations with the goal of introducing themselves to habits or activities (like yoga) that will form the basis of a healthy lifestyle they intend to continue after the vacation is over. Others take wellness vacations to step back, take stock of their life, and consider a change.

Take the time to determine what you want to achieve with your wellness vacation. Just make sure the intention you finally set aligns with your genuine goals. For instance, it’s fine if your goal is simply “getting away from it all for a mental reboot.” By considering why you want to take a wellness vacation, you’ll find it easier to determine where you want to go and what you should spend most of your time doing while you’re there.

Logistics

Don’t forget to account for how you’ll reach your destination. You don’t want to counteract the wellness-boosting benefits of your trip by choosing a spot that you can’t reach without some stressful traveling.

In addition, with the world still in the grips of COVID-19, be sure to consider how the pandemic will affect travel, whether local businesses at your destination will be open, and the safety risks involved. Check the CDC’s website on travel considerations and coronavirus. Keep in mind also that the State Department advises Americans not to travel internationally right now. So if you simply must get away right now, pick a domestic destination. You may also want to plan for a trip later in the year, when it may be safer to travel.

Enjoy Nature with These Fun, Relaxing Activities That Aren’t Hiking

This blog often touches on the many ways spending time in nature benefits your health. But it’s one thing to intellectually understand that spending time outside can boost your health; it’s another to actually do it.

There are plenty of reasons why people don’t participate in outdoor activities. However, for many, spending time in nature means hiking, and that just doesn’t appeal to them—it may sound boring, pointless, or simply too strenuous.

If you want to get outside, but hiking up a mountain doesn’t exactly thrill you, there are plenty of other outdoor activities you may not have considered. Here are a few. These activities are lowkey and relaxing, and can provide you with hours of fun outside.

Photography, Painting, and Visual Art

Photography

Spending time in nature doesn’t just boost your health. It also gives you the opportunity to indulge in creative pursuits like photography, painting, and sketching. This can be a relaxing, fun way to spend time outside without having to work up a sweat or even travel far. You can also make a game of it—for example, go on a walk in the woods and try to find five wildflowers to photograph. From wildlife to plants to scenic views, nature offers plenty of fascinating, colorful subjects and beautiful light to inspire your creativity.

Geocaching

Geocaching is an excellent outdoor activity if you have children—it’s essentially a treasure hunt. Geocachers use a GPS device or mobile phone to navigate to hidden “caches” filled with trinkets. These caches and their GPS coordinates are published on sites like www.opencaching.us and www.geocaching.com; there are more than 3 million active geocaches in 191 countries on all 7 continents worldwide. 

Geocaching is fun because it combines aspects of hiking, orienteering, and treasure-hunting, and it offers a fun challenge and reward if a walk or a hike doesn’t seem interesting to you. In addition, caches are rated according to difficulty and the surrounding physical terrain. This means there are caches that are perfect for families with young children and caches that demand a lengthy hike to reach, and everything in between.  

Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is a meditative practice that only requires you to be present in nature. First established as the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is a way to “bathe” in nature with all your senses. For example, you might take a slow walk through the woods, breathing deeply and taking the time to note all you see, hear, smell, and touch. There’s no need to rush or make it to a certain destination; the goal (if you can call it that) is just to be. If you’re feeling stressed and tense, forest bathing is a great way to slow down and reconnect with the natural world.

Birdwatching

There are 47 million birders in the United States—why not join them? Birdwatching is a relaxing, fascinating hobby and a fun way to spend time in the natural world. It’s also a hobby that appeals to a broad range of people.

For example, there’s a challenging, competitive aspect to it if you want; many birders compete in what’s called the “Big Year” to see who can spot the most species in a specific region in a year. Plenty of birders take a lowkey, more relaxed approach to their hobby and simply enjoy learning how to identify birds by their appearance and song. Other birders enjoy the “citizen science” aspect and record their sightings for research projects and wildlife organizations. If you’re looking for a hobby with a community, birdwatching is also a great choice—birdwatching clubs abound.

Mushroom Hunting

Mushrooms

Mushroom hunting is another excellent hobby to pick up if you want to spend more time in nature, but don’t want to go on a strenuous or fast-paced hike. There are tens of thousands of species of mushrooms, which makes identifying them a fun challenge, and they are more ephemeral than plants—they often appear after a rain. Finding one in the wild is like finding a hidden treasure, especially if you find an edible one prized for its taste! 

At the same time, keep in mind that some mushrooms can make you sick or even kill you if you eat them. If you’re a beginner, go mushroom hunting with someone who is experienced and invest a quality field guide. You may also find a local foraging group in your area. If you go alone as a beginner, do not eat anything you find—your goal for your first few hunts should simply be to find mushrooms, identify their species, and collect a sample or photograph.

Nature Collecting

Even when walking through your neighborhood, you’ve probably noticed a particularly beautiful leaf, a pinecone, or a feather dropped by a passing bird. Collecting natural objects is an easy, fun way to spend time outside, and it can also entertain young children for hours. Start your collection with what interests you the most—maybe it’s rocks, shells, sea glass, old birds’ nests, or even seeds. Nature collecting is also fun because it gives you something to do once you’re home: figuring out how to display your collection.

Other Outdoor Activities

Of course, there are plenty of other outdoor activities, like bicycling, kayaking, climbing, bouldering, surfing, and swimming. However, remember that you can also enjoy nature if more lowkey activities appeal to you. Give one of the activities on this list a try and get outside!

These Studies Prove Spending Time in Nature Offers Major Benefits

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard that spending time in green spaces and enjoying nature offers a range of benefits. You may understandably be a bit skeptical. People and pundits constantly claim that everything from practicing a hobby to organizing your home yields significant, measurable benefits.

Luckily, there’s plenty of research that shows that spending time in nature is helpful. The following are just a few examples of studies clearly demonstrating the many reasons we should all prioritize relaxing in green spaces—for example, through forest bathing or solo and group nature excursions.

Even Pictures of Nature Are Beneficial

It’s important to understand that actually going out and spending time in nature is the best way to take advantage of the experience. Immersing all your senses in a natural environment is more effective than taking a “virtual hike.”

That said, it’s worth noting that nature’s effects on our wellbeing are so strong that, when you’re stuck inside, even mere pictures of nature can still offer some clear benefits.

Yosemite Park nature

For example, in one study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, researchers discovered that when participants simply stared at pictures of beautiful natural settings for as little as 40 seconds, the brain entered a measurably more relaxed state. Participants also performed better on a test of attention than the control group, who were instructed to stare at a concrete ceiling.

Another study published in Environmental Science & Technology indicates that looking at pictures of nature can boost your autonomic function after having an acutely stressful experience. That’s especially important, because your autonomic nervous system controls crucial but unconscious bodily processes, such as digestion, heart rate, breathing rate, and how the pupils of your eyes respond to light.

The researchers conducting this study had one group of participants look at pictures of nature after having stressful experiences, while another group looked at pictures of urban settings. The group that looked at pictures of nature exhibited significantly greater improvements in autonomic function than the group that looked at urban scenes.

Once again, none of this is to suggest that looking at pictures of green spaces is a substitute for actually experiencing them in person. These examples merely show how nature’s ability to improve our physical and mental health is so strong that it can even deliver measurable effects through images.

Some researchers explain these results with a concept called biophilia. First popularized by the American naturalist Edward O. Wilson, the biophilia hypothesis posits that humans have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life, and that this quality is the essence of our humanity. (For a more complete exploration of this idea, see Wilson’s own book on the subject.) The biophilia hypothesis has influenced professionals in other disciplines—for example, biophilic architecture is designed to increase building occupants’ connection to the natural environment.

More Benefits with More Time Outdoors

If pictures of nature can provide measurable benefits, imagine what going outside can do!

Don’t fret if you live in a city. Odds are good you have plenty of options to choose from if you ever want to get out of the city and enjoy spending some time in nature. For instance, just a little over an hour north from New York City, you’ll find the Shawangunk Ridge, a gorgeous area of the state that’s home to Minnewaska State Park. The Shawangunk Mountains and the Hudson River Valley are excellent, accessible destinations for New Yorkers looking to get back to nature.

Fortunately, even when immediate circumstances don’t permit you to leave the city, there’s a good chance you can at least spend some time in one of your local parks. Research indicates that this can also provide benefits.

Many studies throughout the years have confirmed that exposure to nature can reduce physical and mental stress, and even potentially guard against a range of psychiatric conditions. Recent evidence also indicates you don’t need to spend hours at the park if you’re on a tight schedule, either—one recent study revealed that spending as little as 20 minutes in a park was enough to increase participants’ subjective well-being: in other words, their sense of life satisfaction.

Though a quick walk in your local park can help you feel less stressed and happier, other research suggests you may receive even greater benefits by spending more time in nature. A study in Behavioral Sciences compared the different effects of experiencing three “levels of nature”: an undeveloped, natural site that resembled wilderness; a city park; and an indoor exercise facility in a city.

The researchers measured participants’ cortisol and amylase (a digestive enzyme) levels before and after they visited the respective sites. Their findings show that natural environments can reduce physical and mental stress—and that visitors to the wild, natural environment reported “significantly lower” levels of stress than the participants who visited the urban park or the indoor exercise facility.

These results are similar to the research on forest bathing. This practice was born in Japan but is now popular around the world—it involves taking a longer, quiet, meditative walk in the woods, just to absorb nature with all one’s senses. Research indicates that forest bathing can reduce stress and even increase production of the body’s natural killer (NK) cells, which are critical to the immune system.

All these studies remind us that nature can have tremendous positive effects on our wellbeing. You don’t need to do more than look at a photo of a natural setting for a quick pick-me-up, but longer nature excursions and forest bathing may provide the greatest benefits.

The Amazing Benefits of Solo & Group Nature Trips

Reconnecting with the natural world through a nature excursion isn’t just a pleasant way to escape from your typical routine. Research shows it can also offer a range of very practical benefits, such as reducing stress, improving focus, and reducing blood pressure.

However, if you’re planning a nature excursion, you may wonder whether it’s better to head out into the woods with a group, or to go solo.

There’s no universal answer to your question. Both solo and group nature trips offer their own unique benefits. This guide will help you determine which option is right for your goals.

Benefits of Group Nature Excursions

It’s important to understand that heading out into nature by yourself can be dangerous if you’re not an experienced hiker. Without others, you may get lost, or potentially injure yourself without anyone nearby to assist you. 

This highlights one of the primary benefits of spending time in nature with a group of people. Venturing into the wilderness with company is always safer, especially if you are planning an overnight trip.

That said, even if you do have the proper experience to navigate the wilderness by yourself safely, there are still other reasons to consider a group nature excursion. Spending time in nature with others gives you an opportunity to get to know family, friends, or even strangers in a way that you typically can’t during other social activities. For example, if you’re sitting on the couch watching TV with your partner, any socializing you do will likely be passive; you certainly aren’t in a position to have a deep or engaging conversation.

On the other hand, when you’re out in nature together, all the distractions in daily life that often prevent us from truly connecting with each other are removed. This facilitates a deeper connection that’s difficult to come by otherwise. Even after what might otherwise be a relatively short hike, you may emerge from the experience feeling closer.

What’s more, walking in the woods or other natural area is a feast for the senses. What you notice might not be exactly what someone else notices. On a group nature hike or other excursion, you’ll get the chance to appreciate more elements of the overall experience, because you’ll be with people who might notice sights and sounds you’d otherwise miss. For example, maybe you have a great eye for spotting beautiful foliage, while someone else in your group is good at identifying birds just from their songs.

Everyone can appreciate nature’s beauty—there’s no special skill or knowledge required. Group nature excursions can be a joyful experience that allow you to connect with family and friends, or even make new ones, by sharing your delight in nature’s beauty.

The Benefits of Solo Nature Excursions

excursions

Spending time alone in nature can be a peaceful experience. That’s one of the key reasons solo nature excursions are often beneficial. Everyone needs time for self-reflection; it provides a chance to evaluate your life, your choices, and your identity, determining if you need to make any adjustments. Many of us spend much of our time denying our emotions, rather than dealing with them. Self-reflection is an opportunity to check in with yourself emotionally and pay attention to what you’re really feeling.

However, finding opportunities for self-reflection and introspection can be difficult. A certain degree of silence (that lasts for a relatively extended period of time) is necessary to facilitate the proper mindset. Even if you’re out in nature, you may not be able to find that type of silence if you’re traveling with a group. You need to be alone for this experience, which is why a solo nature walk or hike can be excellent for self-reflection.

Keep in mind that the benefits of spending time by yourself in nature aren’t merely theoretical. Research also confirms that solo nature excursions can support your well-being in a variety of ways. 

For example, researchers have found that being in nature by yourself has a profound impact on stress levels. Studies have also indicated that solo nature trips can improve your attention and focus.

It’s easy to see why. During everyday life, numerous stimuli likely distract you. Emails, text messages, and conversations can eat away at your attention span. When you’re out in nature, however, you’re no longer bombarded in that way. This gives your brain a chance to reset itself. While you can enjoy this benefit to a degree during a group nature excursion, the effect is even greater when you’re alone, because you can focus completely on your thoughts or just being present in the moment, without interruptions.

Again, you still need to consider your own safety if you’re planning a nature excursion. A difficult hike might not be ideal for a solo trip if you lack experience. That said, as these points indicate, whether you venture into nature alone or with others, you’ll experience major benefits.