Therapy That’s Free

I’ve said it so often - a walk in a park is the best mental health therapy for me, and it’s totally free for the most part. When I had the ankle fracture, I can’t tell you how sad it made me to only sit in the car and look out at the water or down a nature trail. But now that I can get out again (carefully, of course) what I’ve said all along is verified by a study from the Center for Nature and Health at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

What they say is this. Every visit to a park lowers the stress level, which can in part lead to less medication for problems like high blood pressure. That’s why my frequent visits in Ann-Ventures to parks are what I love. I took the Osprey Trail on Honeymoon Island in Dunedin this week, and it was the most calming experience. The ospreys were on the quiet side, but the sound of the wind in the trees and the surf were the natural soundtrack I needed.

The researchers call this “nature affinity.” Call it what you want, but it’s what I need on a daily basis, and I’ve invested in a Florida State Parks annual pass. Best investment ever. I highly suggest it, but there’s also so many county and city parks that are free to enjoy. Try the Tampa Riverwalk that is in the running for Best Riverwalk in the US! But just get outdoors. Nature is calling us!

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